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Brand Storytelling

Brand Storytelling In The Digital Age


We are all living in the digital age. Put another way we are now living in the age of community. It’s a brave new world confounding marketing people in every business category. Within this digital age of community, consumers now opt in or opt out.  For marketers, no longer is the conversation about persuasion to buy, rather it’s about to join.

So in the digital age is brand storytelling still relevant? The simple answer – now more than ever!

Every story features an inspired truth carrying the audience along in a captivating journey involving every element of the human condition. There are heroes, villains, struggle, transformation and redemption in every story – and so it must be with the story of your brand.

In our digital age powered by the social web, no longer can marketers demand customer’s attention; they must earn and deserve it by connecting profoundly to the heart of their unspoken desires. No other communication practice does this more effectively than storytelling. When you tell stories that connect to people’s hidden desires, they will follow you, like you, download you, tweet you, share you with friends, and embrace anything you represent– be it the product you sell, the service you provide, or the team you lead.

First and foremost storytelling has always been about tales of unspoken desire. The root of your brand’s story is the core desire and shared values of your target audience. Your brand story is based in whatever desire your audience is striving to attain.

The social web is the cave painting of our time

Just like the cave paintings of prehistoric man to the carving of symbols on rock tablets and ancient temple walls, the social web is the universal medium of the digital age. Indeed the digital age offers many new forms, structures and venues to deliver the “moral” of your brand story to customers. But there’s a catch.

The moral of your brand’s story will have to pass through an unforgiving wall of static white noise.  The digital age carries far more noise than signal. Assuming your audience will even hear your brand story, why will they listen, and more importantly in the parlance of our time – convert?

The answer lies in the ability of your brand story to inspire your audience to realize the unspoken desires they hold near and dear to their hearts. Facts and features will never be enough to move people to connect with your value proposition. This has been true since the dawn of language. All enduring stories teach us, elevate us, and guide us to improve our condition.

In the digital age customers tell the real story of your brand

When the story of brands was a one-way conversation and marketers controlled the content of the message, customers had little leverage.  The sale was the moral of the story. People had to be persuaded and convinced to buy. That’s no longer happening.

Customers tell the real story of brands now. We have all become citizens of the digital global tribe with the power, tools and means to tell our own stories. The most iconic brands create enduring experiences that are embedded and shared within the culture. Customers share with the like minded what they truly care about–that what they desire within their hearts can in fact be realized. And once realized, the story echoes throughout the social web.

For this reason, brand storytelling in the digital age is more important than ever. Regardless of who tells the story of your brand, its purpose is to make an authentic connection with another human being. And when the story does not line up with the experience, regardless of logic and facts, the brand is quickly cast aside and forgotten.

The moral of the story

The story of your brand must be anchored in the hope and aspirations of the audience’s unspoken desires. When the hero of your brand story is centered in what the audience is striving to attain and offers compelling hope and inspiration for them to attain it, your praises will be heard all over the digital world we now live in.

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Ellina Watanabe
Twitter: EllinaWatanabe
on March 07th, 2013 said

Dear Thomson,

Thank you for the great article.

Indeed, digital age completely changes the rules of the game. Now brands need to create authentic and compelling communication with the audience in order to win their attention and loyalty.

I just would like to add a few words to what you wrote:
“The root of your brand’s story is the core desire and shared values of your target audience. Your brand story is based in whatever desire your audience is striving to attain.”

In order for your brand story to be authentic and supported/”picked up”by the customers, it has to come from your brand’s core. Basing your story on the audience’s desires will only give it volatility and eliminate dimensions of depth and integrity. As you mentioned, in a modern time customers tell the true story of a brand. In order for this story to be told, your audience should first and foremost believe in it, create a strong emotional bond with it. This connection can not be made if your brand’s story is not your own (representative of your core).

Once the brand has established its authentic story to tell, it can then look for the ways to relate and transmit the story to its audience.

Thank you for all your great articles,


Ellina Watanabe
Founder and Managing Director at Heresmé

Lokabhiram Dwarakanath
Twitter: Unified_M
on March 11th, 2013 said

While it is true that Story telling is a vital element for a Brand to connect itself to its audience, the audience will listen to the story only if the values of the Brand matches with the values of the audience. For instance, Apple can come up with a story about a new product launch; yet, only the people who can relate themselves to the story will listen to it. So, brands should infuse their values along with a story for them to connect with the audience.

Rudee Garrett
Twitter: GarSpecialties
on March 12th, 2013 said

Branding is important and telling your story will entice the audience to relate to your brand. The most important thing is to differentiate yourself making your brand stand out. Who are you? What do you stand for? What makes you different. You need to work on your USP- Unique selling proposition

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