Giovanna Ferrero, social media director and senior digital strategist at VMLY&R Italy, reflects on how during this period storytelling has a more important role than ever before
We have been talking for years, and with increasing frequency, about storytelling and the importance of brand narration within communication strategies. The effectiveness of accompanying the consumer along their path of discovery, conversion and loyalty is evident.
Probably never before as in this period, storytelling has not only assumed a key role at a strategic level, but has been extremely enhanced in its capacity to impact, thanks to the strong digitalization that’s occurred during the pandemic.
The lockdowns, and also the following months, starved consumers for entertainment and leisure, but also made them more demanding about the quality of experiences and time spent.
Time was already considered a luxury good, but today its value and the quality of how it is used have further gained priority.
By now, just one negative experience may be enough to abandon a brand, and consumers have diminished in their perception that offline and online are partially distinctive realities, just because habits have changed and interactions are increasingly taking place online, in all age groups.
Since the digital and analogue worlds no longer have marked boundaries, interaction and entertainment must be liquid, multidimensional, and able to reach users regardless of the difficulties of the moment and the resulting limitations.
In a hyper-connected and always active scenario, where users are looking for entertainment moments, from branded content on YouTube to TikTok videos, the role of storytelling finds even more fertile ground to reach consumers and bring them into an immersive narrative, thanks to a growing attitude of all generations towards the use of the most modern touchpoints.
One example of this is the recent activation of Lavazza, which, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Red Quality coffee, has developed a storytelling that touches all channels, balancing offline and online, making them connected in a complete ecosystem, dominated by a language that is not purely advertising, thus leading its target to live different experiences within the brand narrative.
The project ‘All of Italy in a Coffee. A 50-Year Journey’ has given voice to the protagonists of change, to show the new Italy through the eyes of young talent, such as a comic book author, a young rapper, a second-generation Italian immigrant film director, a female football champion and a famous Italian singer.
Their stories were aired on TV, but also in live streams, a tool that allowed the talent to interact with their audience, ensuring the connection that consumers increasingly need.
The soundtrack of this journey has become a song, ‘New Roads’, available on different platforms, to amplify the experience of the journey itself.
The entire project came to life on TV, radio, point of sale, YouTube, Spotify, a dedicated website, social channels of the brand and the talents’ social channels, live and streaming events, making the brand the enabler of an engaging and unique experience.
At such a difficult time, when people are forced to keep their distance, brand storytelling becomes a means of communication, further strengthened by tools increasingly available not only to marketers but also to consumers.
Digital touchpoints, strategically placed in a wide ecosystem where online and offline coexist together, allow us to respond to the needs of both the brand and its target, thus developing new forms of engagement.