Sunday 25 September 2016

Digital Storytelling Trends for Global Brands (Friday5)

For multinational organizations, telling globally relevant stories is as much a study in consumer behavior as it is in reporting. Implicit in the trend, particularly in the digital age, is a shift towards concise, salient narratives. By their very nature, global brands have a wealth of international content to pull from and are best served highlighting these stories to engage with audiences online.

Here are five ways brands are leveraging international stories to craft compelling content:

1. Employee Spotlights

Forging an emotional connection with audiences comes down to sharing narratives that resonate. At Microsoft*, this takes the form of employee spotlights on the brand’s Stories page. The microsite, categorized by employee, highlights relevant career trajectories, zeroing in on individual struggles and successes independent of the software company. The resulting entries, which read more like a memoir than a corporate feed, go a long way in spotlighting the brand’s standout team members on a global scale.

2. Day in the Life Snapshots

Much like the personal feeds of friends and colleagues, storytelling formats seeing the most engagement online are those that mirror the exclusive spotlights characteristic of social properties. For instance, Coca-Cola taps into global stories with its Day in the Life series, a collection of slideshows offering a rare glimpse into the day-to-day activities of the brand’s social partners. The simple execution lends an intimacy to the conversation, inviting fans to experience its international work as locals would.

3. Trending Hashtags

Equally important is the way multinationals are leveraging trending hashtags and dominant themes to tell a compelling international story. At IBM, global perspectives are featured prominently as part of the brand’s #ViewFromMyDesk campaign. The social play, active across Twitter and Instagram, showcases views from team member desks across the globe. The campaign’s strong reception, indicative of a wider photo-sharing trend, brings to light the power of consumer behavior – in this case, sharing desk photos – to inspire wider audience participation.

4. Standalone Visuals

Images, long considered the bread and butter of social feeds, are seeing a resurgence, and, with new photo-sharing apps cropping up each day, there’s never been a better time to capitalize on the visual trend to tell international stories. At FedEx, this takes the form of one-off Instagram photos, featuring the brand’s iconic logo in an otherwise destination-focused post. In much the same way as Coca-Cola’s Day in the Life series, these visually-rich updates capitalize on existing consumer trends to reach new audiences online.

5. Short-Form Videos

In this digital context, successful storytelling comes down to succinct messaging. Across properties, long-form exposés have given way to snappy sound bites, the majority of which zero in on a personality or city of interest, with little room for exhaustive analysis. For instance, General Electric* spotlights its global operations with eight-second Facebook videos. In this case, engagement rests squarely on the visuals captured in the truncated clip.

Crafting compelling stories in the digital age calls for a tactful approach, one executed with social in mind. Now more than ever, international stories are fast becoming standard content pillars, with multinationals quick to spotlight these stories on their feeds. Here, it’s the international brands capitalizing on follower trends and the tenets of storytelling reaching new audiences online.

*Edelman client
Image credit: Latin America for Less

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