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5 Compelling Digital Storytelling Examples from Companies

By Eric Halsey

Stories are one of the most powerful communication tools we have as humans. They’ve been proving their worth since the first days of human history and they remain essential for companies looking to engage with their audiences in new ways.

But telling a compelling story with the digital tools at your disposal isn’t easy. You’ve got to compete against Youtube shows, Netflix, podcasts, and just about every other medium out there for your audience’s attention. But some companies have shown that it’s possible to tell compelling digital stories which can build a brand and capture a powerful audience. Let’s go through 6 examples to see how this has been done successfully.

MailChimp Presents

This amazing set of short “shows” with episodes under 10 minutes, tells the stories of various entrepreneurs getting through the everyday challenges of setting up and growing their businesses. MailChimp experiments a lot here, with episodes going from funny and silly to serious and profound as they work their way through the characters and themes that can resonate with all kinds of audiences.

If you need an example of the power of digital storytelling to create compelling brands, look no further than Ernest Packaging. While most companies in industries like theirs (they work in packaging and supply chain management) don’t focus as much on brand building outside of the narrow halls of industry events. The assumption is that there’s no point in doing anything more because the ROI simply won’t be there.

Ernest Packaging’s Cardboard Chaos

If you need an example of the power of digital storytelling to create compelling brands, look no further than Ernest Packaging. While most companies in industries like theirs (they work in packaging and supply chain management) don’t focus as much on brand building outside of the narrow halls of industry events. The assumption is that there’s no point in doing anything more because the ROI simply won’t be there.

But Ernest Packaging’s 100% growth story shows why those assumptions are wrong. In part by telling funny and interesting stories on their Youtube channel, they’ve created a brand like no other in their industry. The projects they work on function as both entertainment and a demonstration of their company’s capabilities, blending a kind of advertising with fun content in a way that’s working wonders for them.

Buffer’s Breaking Brand

Following in the footsteps of successful podcasts like Startup Buffer has created a podcast series about an agency building a direct-to-consumer business. The thinking behind this move is simple: startups use Buffer and startups like to listen to stories of how other startups succeeded and failed. It’s again a hybrid project combining marketing, education, and entertainment.

This was no accident, Buffer learned that 60% of podcast listeners use podcasts to educate themselves. Based on this and the success of their previous podcast series, they wanted to try their hand at using narrative. So far, Buffer seems to be very happy with the results, explaining the value for their company by stating “Some of them will sign up, a lot of them won’t, but if we can give them all a good experience, that means more people will be talking about Buffer and sharing our content with more people who also might be in our target audience. Word of mouth is one of our best acquisition tools.”

Atlassian Teamistry

Another approach to the goal of combining digital storytelling with brand building is to find stories which reinforce the core idea of your brand. For Atlassian, that was the power and importance of teamwork. Their podcast tells great stories, but plenty of other podcasts do that as well. Focusing on stories which demonstrate why teamwork is so important is what brings this content from simple entertainment to something which can also teach.

The benefit for the advertising element is that when Atlassian mentions its products like Trello, its audience is already primed to be thinking about how important teamwork is. Obviously, this means it’s the perfect time to convince them to try a tool to work better on a team. One of the benefits to their approach is that because each episode is its own self-contained story, they can stay flexible and not need to invest in a season’s worth of content hoping that the story they’re telling will resonate.

GoPro’s user-generated content

GoPro took a slightly different approach because its core product is in effect a storytelling device. That’s why they didn’t need to go and engage in digital storytelling themselves, instead they could hand the reins over to their users (who were doing it anyways). The resulting GoPro Awards challenged their community to create excellent content and over 25,000 responded.

The result is a classic example of why user-generated content can still get companies outstanding ROI through digital storytelling. Each of those uploaded videos promoted GoPro and had its own shot at engaging a unique audience to get them excited about the product. It’s also a reminder that even if your company doesn’t have the expertise or resources to create the content you’d like, there’s always the possibility your audience does.

Interested in exploring the power of digital storytelling yourself?

There’s no getting around the reality that digital storytelling is hard for individuals and companies alike. A lot goes into everything from coming up with the right concept to building a system for promoting the content you make. Here at TribeTactics, we’ve built an AI tool from scratch to help you harness the power of episodic content like never before. But even if you’re in the early stages of your digital storytelling journey, we’re happy to just chat about your goals and see how we can help.

Tags: podcast, storytelling, digital marketing