How can brands excel in the art of storytelling - Pallavi Singh, Marketing Head, MG Motors

by Pallavi Singh

Most of us are storytellers at heart. We have all grown up listening to stories of legends, mythological creatures, ghosts, Greek mythologies and more. A decade or so back, stories were a big part of the family structure, education and the time one would spend with family. Storytelling is still one of the most prevalent forms of education. From the ‘Jack & Gill’ poem, to ‘Hansel and Gretel’ to ‘The Mahabharat’ to ‘The Iliad and The Odyssey’ by Homer, a lot of storytelling was all about seeding morals, sharing values, learning to be a good human and imbibing the qualities that are seen as important to how we define humanity.

As we grew up, stories were also a way of exchange and making new friends. Sitting down with friends, sharing stories was a routine. Back then there was a big culture of exchanging books, comics since they were not digitally available and abundant like they are today. Hence, I believe while some people might be better storytellers than others, may have a better command on the language, but storytelling comes naturally to all of us.

Business storytelling might be different but at the heart of any kind of storytelling, lays emotions. And emotions drive me, you, our consumers, and our customers. Hence, for a brand I believe it is important to connect with the core emotions instead of trying to sell a service or a product. My check-list would be as follows and driven by three simple principles --

Be authentic

Is your story authentic? Does it convey the true emotions? Does it keep the soul of the story intact even if you may change the settings or the environment? If your story is authentic, so will be the emotions. And that will help your brand connect with the consumer.

A powerful story needs the right distribution network

Today, to share a story is made easy with the availability of digital platforms. But digital platforms have also led to a lot of clutter on your or my timeline. Hence, with the right distribution supported by the right targeting to reach your audience helps it amplify right. Also, in terms of which format and what mediums suits your story, high quality content (thanks to the mobile in our hands we all expect quality content today!), its treatment, the finer details, you would need a team of experts who understand the nuisances to bring it to life the way, in the format that it requires to be. Today, just creating a story is not enough. You need to amplify it right as well.

Take a look at this #StoriesofMG we did with one on our classic MG customer. We ensured the right distribution of the story and today, it is one of the most viewed videos in the auto sector. But firstly, it is authentic to who the owner is and his journey to MG.

Branded content is great but needs a balancing equilibrium

I have often seen that a great story is sometimes killed by the over the top brand integration. Brand integration is important and understandably, required but brand stories told well, often integrates the brand very subtly. Imagine – as a viewer, you are immersed in watching the story and if the brand integration causes the viewer to disconnect from the story, the brand integration has not only failed but also made the consumer discontinue from the experience. Brand integrations should always support the story.