Now, this is a story all about how…

Stories have been around since the dawn of civilisation. As an immersive and persuasive form of communication stories create an emotional reaction and makes the listener buy into a point of view. Our minds naturally want to frame experiences into a story as it helps us process, understand and recall information. But what are the ingredients for the perfect brand story?
  1. Know your aim: Who is your audience, what is the intent of your story and how will you deliver your message? The best stories have a point and are told with flare on every channel.
  2. Your brand’s role and responsibility: Branded stories must work harder to appear genuine and deliver meaning. They must stand out from other brands and demonstrate (in context) rather than make claims. The brand should play the supporting role but be instrumental to the story.
  3. Catch and maintain attention: An impactful opening catches attention in today’s busy world. But clever, funny, intriguing or surprising storyline helps maintain it.
  4. Archetypical stories resonate across cultures: There are certain stories that are present in the collective human consciousness. They resonate across generations and geographies which, is ever more important for international brands whose aim is to speak to different cultures.
  5. Who is your protagonist? Every story must have relatable characters. Whether it’s a hero or a villain, a story should inspire empathy.
  6. A reveal builds emotion: The best stories are multi-dimensional with some twists. Reveals provoke the strongest responses in audiences which will keep your audience on their toes and maintain their attention.
  7. Distil the plot: Find a balance of information shared; too little lowers richness and too much can make the story predictable – the ultimate storytelling faux pas!
  8. Deliver satisfaction: Each story must have a satisfying resolution. The psychology Nobel Prize laureate Daniel Kahneman highlights the importance of “peak-end” - when the overall experience is rated largely on its final moments.
Generally, it’s true that brands often prefer TV as the medium of choice for storytelling campaigns. However, the storytelling is a cross-channel, multisensory discipline so brands must use every sense for optimum impact while revealing different parts of the narrative at each stage. Each channel must use its strengths to frame the story from a different perspective, dipping the audience back into the ongoing brand story. So how does OOH contribute?

Every story is a journey

OOH has the unique presence in the daily journey of consumers. Encountering the same sites every day that reveal a different part of the narrative, builds up anticipation and delight.
Uber OOH storytelling campaign, JCDecaux France, 2016Uber’s serial campaign plays on words that Uber also means Super. The funny creatives display all types of different people who love Uber and their stories, for example the woman driver who is Uberwoman ie Superwoman, the pilot who is Ubersonique ie Supersonic, or Uberet just because it’s a funny club of men in berets.
I enjoy looking at posters in the city and I am often impatient to see such and such brand’s new campaign. What are they going to tell us this time? What’s the next episode. JCDecaux Urban Stories respondent, France

Dive right in

For OOH, one of the strengths is its real-life existence. No other medium can create a fully immersive experience for the audience, transporting them to lands far away. And instead of making claims, with OOH brands allow the audience to interact directly with the story, building self-association with the brand within an exciting setting, when their senses are heightened.
LVMH’s Louis Vuitton immersive experiential airport campaign tells the story of Louis, his son Georges Vuitton and the history of the brand that is so synonymous with travel today. The core identity and appeal of the brand is tied to its history and craftsmanship, which is why its fans were so keen to briefly escape the airport into a world of LV.

Shared experiences and loyalties

Experiencing a story in the real world through OOH facilitates a shared experience on two levels:  among the audience themselves, and between the brand and its audience. People bond over their love of the character and they discuss the outcome of the story. Thus, the experience creates tribal loyalties, which in turn, strengthen the emotional connection with the brand.

Data and responsive Storytelling

Storytelling in OOH, Spotify playlist campaign, Brexit joke, UK 2016
Storytelling in OOH, Spotify playlist campaign, JCDecaux UK 2016
Storytelling in OOH Spotify playlist campaign, USA 2016
Storytelling in OOH, Spotify playlists campaign, JCDecaux Australia 2017

DOOH presents new opportunities for innovative storytelling. Data integration and Dynamic messaging allow to progressively tell the story to audiences in relevant urban environments, different parts of the city and contextualise it live to match events. With social media integration, brands can also build a personal connection with their audiences by allowing them to contribute and interact with the storyline and its characters. 

OOH is a prime channel that will keep any story top of mind. With a smart multi-channel narrative OOH storytelling campaigns ensure variety and anticipation, effectively building the brand in the long term. 

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