Brand storytelling in digital advertisement boosts product sales

Social media marketing strategies engage target audiences with digital content they can relate to. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH
Social media marketing strategies engage target audiences with digital content they can relate to. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH 

Huawei Mobile Kenya has embraced storytelling in the latest advertisements for its Y series range of smartphones, in a strategy that has been found to engage the consumer neuro-psychologically, leading to a 55 per cent increase in the chances of purchase.

In research conducted by UK digital content marketing agency, Headstream, on the power of brand storytelling, intent to purchase increases if consumers love a brand story.

“If people really love a brand story, 55 per cent are more likely to buy the product in the future, 44 per cent will share the story and 15 per cent will buy the product immediately.”

For Huawei, the strategy is a way of reaching its target market, millennials.

“Comics are a strong medium that still connect with the young people, they are a unique expressive format that they can relate to  and it is often used by them as a means of artistic and personal expression,” said Fiona Uwagwu,  managing partner at Ogilvy One Africa, who created the advertisement for its client, Huawei.

In this, Ogilvy was looking for a creative way to engage and interact with the market. “The audience are constantly bombarded with collateral from brands to buy buy buy, and spend spend spend.

“They have learnt to tune that out. By embracing this strategy we wanted them to view the Huawei brand as human and genuinely interested in who they are,” said Ms Uwagwu.

In fact, research has found that such a strategy has the capability to not only engage consumers, but to also motivate them neuro-psychologically.

“Millward Brown’s global neuroscience practice uses facial coding to demonstrate the power of storytelling as a creative tool to engage viewers, to identify whether a story is working for a brand and how it might be improved.

“Based on testing thousands of advertisements, facial coding confirms that stories have huge potential to both engage the audience and to motivate them,” said Sarah Walker global lead, digital behaviour analytics at Millward Brown, a UK market research company in an article titled, ‘The Power of Storytelling’.

“Story advertisements typically result in greater enjoyment and engagement than non-story advertisements, observed in both more expressive facial reactions and stronger ratings on key Link questions, indicating a greater ability to attract attention and be remembered.”

An example of this is Google’s 2010 advertisement ‘Parisian Love’. It told the story of a boy meeting a girl through Google searches and was one of the 63 advertisements aired during the annual championship game of the US National Football League — Super Bowl.

Neuromarketing firm Sands Research tracked selected viewers’ eye movements and studied their brain activity in response to the different advertisements.

They found that Google’s advertisement was one of the most remembered and ranked fourth for neuro-engagement with a score of 3.80  because it had an engaging storyline that elicited a consistent, deep emotional response from viewers.

“By conducting neuromedia analysis based on electroencephalography recordings and eye-tracking data gathered from study participants, we are able to effectively determine the dimensions on which advertisements engaged viewers and also the its chance for success,” said Dr Stephen Sands, the founder of Sands Research on the findings of the study.

“By creating an engaging and emotional storyline with strong positive response, viewers were extensively engaged and strongly recalled the spot but more importantly, specifically recalled the brand associated with the advertisement. Too often that correlation is lost and key branding moments are missed.”

Indeed, for a brand to embrace the strategy, its story has to be believable or else it will fail to persuade the consumer of the relationship between the brand and the story it is telling.

- African Laughter