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Corporate storytelling - How digital, and video, are transforming the way companies deliver their brand story

(Image credit: Shutterstock.com / Pressmaster)

Whether dealing with customers, investors, partners, or even employees, providing a strong narrative and a clear message is critical for any organisation that wants to successfully engage both its internal and external stakeholders.

The key to this is strong content, but the way we consume and engage with it has changed so much in recent years. We are all constantly connected; the streams of content available on hundreds of different mediums flood our phones and devices all day long, and therefore it has never been harder to capture and keep an audience’s attention.

Technology has had a huge piece to play in this evolution, and will undoubtedly continue to do so in the future. As they grow, businesses are increasingly faced with the challenge of connecting people over wider geographies, particularly if they also adopt a culture of remote and flexible working.

So, with this in mind, what are the key developments in the way we view content that is shaping the ways in which businesses need to evolve their corporate storytelling? What tools are paving the way in helping them make this transition?

Digitally driven stories

In today’s digitally driven world, our attention spans have evolved and, for many, multitasking has become the new norm. The majority of the information we interact with comes in digital format, and this has transformed the way people digest messages and how we connect with peers and brands. What this means is that, in order to reach their target and retain the audience's attention, companies’ digital stories must be relevant, engaging, and delivered at the right time via the right channel.

To achieve this, companies need to adapt quickly and become more agile and innovative in their communications in order to provide value for their audiences at every stage of interaction with the business.

Reaching out globally

For those companies with offices and customers across the world, in order to communicate efficiently and engage their global audiences, they must strive to find new ways to deliver their messages.

Traditional corporate narratives and linear, one-sided lecture-style approaches won’t cut it anymore. Nowadays, presenters have to find new ways to deliver their message in order to keep audiences engaged and make conversations more dynamic and fluid.

A recent study revealed that 72 per cent of survey respondents find two-way presentations more memorable than linear ones. This shows that compelling stories and engaging conversations are a must for any professional that wants to connect with the audience and deliver impactful messages.

The good news is that the technology that underpins corporate communications such as presentation and communications platforms has evolved significantly in recent years.

Now organisations can leverage smart, innovative solutions that include visually engaging and intuitive features. This enables presenters to shape and deliver their messages more effectively as well as truly engage and inspire their audience.

Video is the new king of content

Video, for example, has gained significant traction in recent years and now plays a crucial role in any effective, high impact communications strategy across all organisational levels. In fact, over three-quarters of the world’s internet traffic is video, meaning this movement is not just a trend - it is an industry standard. E-learning has also had a huge part to play in this growth, with this market alone estimated to be worth a staggering $325 billion by 2025, with over 1 billion e-learning videos being created per day on YouTube.

There may be science behind this that explains the trend. According to research, 90 per cent of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000x faster than text. Furthermore, when someone views information via video, they retain 95 per cent of it. This proves that video messages are more engaging, lead to higher retention, and are a better storytelling medium than most text-based communications.

As a result, more companies are now using video for remote training sessions, how-to demonstrations, webinars, business updates, and social media posts. The problem here, however, is that businesses looking to make professional-looking video content will often need to outsource the job of creating these videos to specialists, as they can be quite complex and time-consuming to make. This may be through a videographer, green screen, expensive hardware, or difficult editing software - all of which can be extremely costly.

Not only that, but it’s important to remember that the art of storytelling applies to videos as well. With a ‘one size fits all’ approach, the message can be lost to the audience if videos are linear and one-sided. Companies need to use video tools that allow interaction between the presenters and their audience, enabling them to switch focus depending on the viewers’ interests and questions.

So, with this in mind, it is integral that these videos allow for an immersive experience in order to keep audiences engaged and focused, and consequently drive home messaging. More research has found that over three quarters (75 per cent) of office workers in the UK have been distracted when watching a video conference, and nearly half of these people even check and respond to emails during this time.

Immersive video technology puts the presenter in the centre of their messaging and allows them to actually interact with not only their audience, but their content as well. Creating these immersive videos enables the presenter to give a truly personal touch to their content.

Besides helping companies deliver their messages in a meaningful, effective way, video is also enabling businesses to lower their travel costs for face-to-face time and decrease their carbon footprint. Employees don’t have to travel across the world anymore if they can convey their messages via engaging, compelling video sessions.

Digitally innovate, reap the rewards

At its core, brand storytelling is a business competency that drives emotional engagement, resulting in enhanced business performance. Regardless of what tools or platforms organisations use to deliver their brand stories, they should facilitate smooth content creation and data visualisation to enable continuous interplay between the company and its audiences.

With new technology and tools comes the potential for more interesting and engaging storytelling, and brands have a responsibility to make the best use of these different platforms to deliver impactful messages across channels and audiences. In return, they can expect to see the business benefit and their stories transcend conventional limitations.

Stefanie Grossman, Senior VP of Marketing, Prezi