The impact of digital branding and storytelling

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There has been a predominance of social media in today’s shifting world and digital state of affairs, and a smartphone boom and the importance of digital storytelling cannot be understated. One of the most important ways for brands to be remembered is by interactive storytelling. Digital storytelling is the art of individuals and companies using digital tools to share their story and advertise their brand. This multimedia tales are also compelling, immersive and emotionally stimulating to attract as large an audience as possible. It is the newest mode of storytelling that has evolved with open media development techniques. The emergence of digital storytellers is increasing at a very high rate due to the rampant changes in technological brand marketing by companies (Kim, 2104). Digital story telling entails effective and humanistic dissemination of information and with the power of human narrative with the powerful nature of digital media. It is the practice of using computer-based tools to successfully tell stories (Jenna, 2012). Unlike in the past, bringing a brand story to life is now done through digital media, due to the shifting consumer expectations.

Digital storytelling does not conform to the traditional storytelling g conventions due to its ability to combine still and moving imagery sound and text as well as other interactive features. Due to the many capabilities of technology, there is a wide base from which to integrate digital stories. They allow for greater interactivity between the authors and audience, unlike traditional storytelling. New media devices have enhanced individuals to share digital stories through the internet, podcasts and other electronic media. These devices include computers, digital; cameras, recorders, etc. it entails storytelling with a variety of media features such as photography, audio, text, and video.

Digital storytelling plays a big role in getting viewers to engage with a brand in many ways. One, people are wired for storytelling, and these stories help to connect with them emotionally and interactively. With the increasing number of social platforms, people and brands are now sharing stories that would otherwise be seen (Smith, 2013). Digital storytellers are the persons with a desire to document life experiences, feelings, and desires through stories inn digital media. These usually have no experience in video production but develop creative stories to be aired digitally. These are usually organizations who want to promote their brand through these stories, to catch the attention of the viewers.

History of Digital Storytelling

Digital stories were originally used by film students and media enthusiasts in the early 1990s. Scientist Dana Atchley was a performing storyteller who saw the need to improve the stories through the use of digital media and explore the potential to use emerging digital technology. The Centre for Digital Storytelling (CDS) was eventually formed as the main body in the art of digital storytelling. The organization is a consulting center for businesses and other social groups who want to use digital storytelling for their benefit. It also undertakes in training of interested participants to crate narratives and compile pictures and videos to form and create a digital story. Today, digital stories are being used in a variety of fields including education, commerce, and healthcare. The CDS recommends digital storytellers to use scripts that are written in a format that one speaks, in a conversational tone so as to connect with the audience (CDS, 2012). Digital stories provide an invaluable and personal media for individuals and businesses to share their stories with the world.

Successful brands such as Nike and Coca-Cola have embraced brand storytelling digitally through social media platforms. These are some of the many brands that are indulging in digital storytelling, sharing stories that promote their products while at the same time entertaining their audience. Nike and Coca-Cola have been doing storytelling for a long time, and this comes as no surprise since they are the world’s largest brands. Their huge following on social media has enhanced these giants to tell their stories digitally.


Nike is the largest sports manufacturer in the world, and this success has been attributed to the way they tell their stories digitally through great content. Digital storytelling of Nike is fun, innovative and consistent with the very compelling concept that is both empowering and encouraging. It is the perfect example of successful modern marketing. They have one of the greatest social media following, which has helped it strengthen its brand. Nike’s “Make it count” video is one of the most shared contents in social media due to its inspiring story for the viewers to make the most out of life and enjoy new experiences.

With its large community of more than 30 million dedicated fans, Nike knows how to use and employ the online content strategy. Digital storytelling is what keeps the company going for their fans all over the world. They achieve this by making good use of online space and content that is tailored specifically for each of its audience. Nike has built three core principles for digital branding, and these include great products, great athletes, and great stories. The ads of Nike have built the brand into a juggernaut that appeals every single person regardless of age or gender. The ads are unique and full of excitement, and the emotional messages are hard to ignore.

Great Products

In Nike, they believe that one of the keys to success is having a premium product that satisfies and fill the needs of customers. Great products and services are a foundation of any big business since these are the main sources of revenue. Nike provides premium sportswear that stands out from their competitors, with a compelling and attractive design intended to capture the attention of their loyal fans globally.

Great Athletes

Nike products are designed and tailored with specific athletes in mind. This is because Nike is a sports based company and it, therefore, tries to build products around the athletes who will benefit from the products. They focus every aspect of their brand on athletes and make it personal, which makes the buyers feel appreciated and cared for.

Great Stories

When telling a story, Nike strives to make it personal. They reach people in a way that immediately feels as if you are talking to them directly. Their stories are compelling, narrative and appealing to the clients’ mindset (Peter, 2016). These stories make people feel that they are involved in the Nike community. The stories are not about the products, but about the clients. They inspire a generation of athletes through compelling stories. They repeat the stories over and over, in a way that delivers a powerful shot of the athletes’ self-esteem. The stories evoke emotions and feelings to the target audience, and the message really goes out to every single person.

Nike branding involves a five-step digital marketing formula that is aimed to drive the massage home. All the ads follow this step that shows the various stages a hero undergoes in order to fulfill his quest. The branding process simply tells the story of a hero (Omar, 2012).

The first step in the process is ‘challenge.’ They make a connection with their audience by using everyday activities that a person goes through. These trigger emotions that people feel on a regular basis. This tries to connect with the viewers, to make them feel that they are one and they understand them. They do this by showing a person working hard, someone being the first to the challenge. The next step is the ‘game’. Nike shows a person working hard at whatever they are doing, especially in a particular game. This step tries to remind viewers why they love sports and to connect emotionally with them. The third step into Nike’s digital branding entails doubt and suffering. It shows the main character hitting the wall and viewers are left wondering if he will make it through. He falls, the couch is furious with him and fans are furious at him. There are mixed emotions here as he commercial sends a message to all viewers and potential buyers. Stage four, ‘faith in yourself’, is the stage where the main character returns his confidence and becomes hopeful that he has to win. This message gives viewers hope as well and makes them believe in their abilities. The character rededicates himself to the goal, and the marketing strategy gives hope to all. The last stage is winning, as the character eventually win with a little help from Nike products. These stories are emotional and eye-catching, and viewers can’t help but love the brand. It makes viewers learn to not give up no matter their state of affairs because, in the end, everybody will be a winner.

Nike manages to tell digital storytelling successfully through the utilization of various social media platforms. On Twitter, Nike has a multitude of Twitter accounts, each representing the different kind of sports they have, for different regions. They have a huge following, approximately 5 million fans in all the accounts. They use brief posts, containing videos or pictures that tell a story that is captivatingly eye-catching to the viewers. They actively engage with their followers by asking questions and listening to their opinions. On Facebook, the company has more than 22 million active followers, where they keep interactions open. They mostly share their story through the use of videos, which show the athletes running and using Nike products. The stories are captivating and compelling, with emotional messages that help to connect with viewers. They interact directly with their followers, a method that has seen the brand becoming so popular among fans. On Instagram, they have various accounts for posting pictures and videos that tell the brand story. The pictures are appealing and captivating, and the videos arty and high quality. They use good visual content, which attracts viewers to their site.


Coca-cola is one of the world’s largest brands, operating in more than two hundred countries globally. This success and fame are because of its consistent and compelling storytelling, for more than one hundred years. With changing consumer expectations and shift in technology in today’s world, Coke understands that storytelling and content marketing are essential for connecting with customers. In 2012, the company launched the Journey website as its media outlet using heavy image format. The redesign was the most creative among many brand websites. The new website was meant to be an interactive digital magazine which features a range of stories from company news to important topics affecting a wide range of audience. In 2013, Coca-Cola was named creative marketer of the year. The company is famous for utilizing various social media platform s to tell their compelling stories (Kim, 2014). Coca-cola has more than 86 million followers on their social platforms, with local pages from different regions globally.

Coca-Cola on FaceBook

Facebook is a popular and liberated social networking website that is presently the prevalent social networking site in the world, with over one billion active users worldwide. The website allows users to share photos, post comments and links to members and the shared content can be publicly accessible to all registered Facebook users (Omar, 2012). The site is available in more than thirty-seven different languages and has many features that have enhanced its popularity. On Facebook, coca-cola has more than 80 million fans who are actively engaged. They make use of Facebook timeline to connect their consumers with their hilarious stories. The Facebook page is to the users, whereby they are free to tell their stories, showing how coke has influenced them. The company utilizes facebook to prop up their brand and tell captivating stories that leave users asking for more. They interact directly with their followers on this site and even respond to their queries.

Coca Cola on Twitter

Twitter is an online news and social networking service that allows registered users to post diminutive messages called tweets. Coca Cola has more than 2.5 million followers on Twitter, and the number is increasing every day. The name Coca-Cola has been twitted by followers more than 2000 times, which has garnered engagements with users actively. They enhance this engagement by running campaigns to engage its audience and making them a part of the brand experience. They tell stories through videos that show characters sipping coke, showing how a sip of coke feels. These videos are very captivating and compelling, any viewer who sees the video shares to their friends, hence promoting the brand (Kim, 2014). Another tactic they use is replying to their users on Twitter, thus keeping them directly engaged. The tactic has been very useful for the brand.

Coca-Cola on Tumblr

A recent study showed that coca cola is the best storytelling brand on Tumblr, mainly due to its captivating blog which reads, “Where Happiness Lives Online”(Kim, 2014). In this site, Coca-Cola uses animated GIFs and cartoons which make it fun and engaging. They use random images that are fun, and tell a coke story compellingly. Coca-Cola has posted on Tumblr more than any other brand, with compelling and captivating stories and photos that have enhanced the brand’s popularity.

Coca-Cola on Instagram

Instagram is a social platform for sharing photos and videos, and successful digital storytelling brands such as Coca-Cola have utilized the platform to tell the coke story. More than any other brand in Instagram, Coca-Cola has embraced video sharing, which have had many views and comments (Omar, 2012). Selena, Gomez, a celeb, posted a photo sipping the Coke and the photo became the most-liked Instagram photo of all time. The photo told a story of how sipping coke makes you feel relaxed and at ease.

Coca-Cola on Pinterest

This is another social media platform which the brand coke is utilizing to crate moments of the player through pins. Most of the photos tell stories of people enjoying a bottle of coke and these are usually compelling. They have quite a large number of followers on this site, who keep sharing the photos of coke.

These are some of the ways Coca-cola tells their stories digitally. Moreover, the main reason for the success of Coca-cola as a brand in digital marketing is their use of digital marketing campaigns. These are interesting digital initiatives, some of which entail immense global campaigns. Some of these campaigns include:

Super Bowl 2012

The coca-cola super bowl ad of 2012, involved two polar bears which were reacting to the events taking place in the field. The audience would interact with these bears and ask questions about the various teams they were supporting by posting them on social media websites. Coke streamed these interactions, and by the time the game was halfway, more than 600 000 people were watching the story live stream. The campaign was viewed by more than ten million consumers worldwide (David, 2013).

Share a Coke

This is one of the company’s most outstanding digital storytelling campaigns and has generated amazing response all round the globe. When it was launched in 2011, it led to an 8 percent increase in sales. It is a simple campaign that gives people a chance to order personalized Coke bottles. The fame of this campaign is due to the affect that people love to share images of Coke bottles with their names on them. The campaign has attracted more than 100 million people all over the world, in more than 200 countries (David, 2013).

The Coca-Cola Happiness Machine

Happiness machines are classic Coke vending machines that give out free treats like pizza flowers and drinks. The reactions by people receiving the treats wee then videoed, and the footage was put on YouTube. This earned millions of viewers and attracted a huge online buzz. The stories showing coke giving out the treats were purely captivating and mesmerizing, which earned the brand a huge following.

Nike and Coca-cola are some of the many brands that are utilizing digital storytelling and the impact is that these brands have become user favorites. There are some lessons that can be learned from these two companies, for businesses who want to engage in digital storytelling. One lesson to be learned is direct interaction. These two brands engage with their followers directly using the social media platforms, carefully analyzing their needs and producing products that suit them. The users feel connected to the brands, and the result will be a high degree of customer loyalty. Another strategy to be learned from coca-cola and Nike is embracing new mediums. Businesses should not be afraid to dive into new content. This is by knowing what your audience wants and catering to them (Kim, 2014).

Another strategy is to make sure that every story is compelling, unique and out of the ordinary. It should also have universal appeal and generate interest for the viewers. The story should embrace diverse cultures so as to connect with people (Monica, 2013).

Product Advert

I will use the strategies learned from master storytellers Nike and Coke, in my ideal product advert. The product is “joyous” sunscreen lotion especially to use during severe hot weather. In the ad, I will show a character sweating profusely from the sun, and the result will be that the character is left with cracked skin. However, after applying the sunscreen on the skin, the character’s face starts glowing, and the skin becomes extra smooth.


To sum up, it is clear that digital storytelling is the new method of branding, which is a captivating way to get the viewers to love your products. It is a unique experience through which storytellers connect with their viewers as these stories provide an invaluable medium for companies to stay connected to the consumers. Applications of digital stories are endless as the use visual imagery to augment the message. Companies that want to succeed should try digital storytelling, as it is a method of connecting with users personally, and never disappoints. The success of Coca-cola and Nike has been mainly attributed to the way they can tell captivating stories, and this is something that up and coming businesses should emulate


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