The Power of Storytelling: Why authenticity in storytelling matters now more than ever!

BBC StoryWorks, a brand of BBC News and BBC Studios has turned eight this year, the BBC has been telling stories for over a hundred years, telling the stories that matter to the people who need them the most.

Nicola Eliot, vice president, Asia-Pacific, BBC StoryWorks opened the event, “We believe it’s our heritage of storytelling values that has helped us truly understand how to engage our audiences with great content and bring that knowledge and connection to the brands we work with. Whilst the storytelling landscape has changed dramatically, with social media and AI providing ways for anyone with a phone and an idea to create and distribute three billion users consuming hundred minutes of online video on an average every day in 2022. These audiences are not afraid to give feedback where they don’t like your content, and if you get caught out being inauthentic, or on the wrong side of popular opinion, it can cause significant damage to your reputation whether you are an individual, publisher, or a brand.”

“We want more stories, but we also want to be to be able to have the same emotional experience in two minutes on a vertical screen as we do anywhere else. Given this incredible demand, providing authentic, engaging and emotional storytelling is even more important for publishers and brands to have any hope of capturing and keeping attention, whilst maintaining their brand safety, trust and reputation.” Eliot elaborated.

Ankita Bakshi, content strategist at BBC StoryWorks Asia-Pacific, presented a campaign delivered by the BBC StoryWorks team in collaboration with Royal Enfield to celebrate their 120 years in existence.

Bakshi said, “The Royal Enfield trusted our storytelling ability and agreed to leave the typical long form television format and truly tap into the preferences of our digital audiences. It was a case of quality over quantity that we delivered by leveraging the power of short-form video content.”

“Notably the campaign received 3 million video views with an average dwell time of 3.3 minutes and more than 48 million impressions on social media.” Bakshi explained the impact of the campaign.

In a fireside chat with Bakshi on crafting a compelling narrative, Jatin Chhikara the head of digital marketing, CRM and Analytics (Global Brand), Royal Enfield elaborated upon the quest for the pole campaign, “What makes Royal Enfield stand apart is how we approach things, no idea or goal is audacious as we are a set of explorers and riders. The challenging part of this campaign was to prepare the riders and motorcycles as they hadn’t been tested in temperatures like minus 40-50 degrees celsius in Antarctica.”

“In story telling we always focus on the riders not the motorcycles. For us it’s all about the journey. The stories have been with us since the time we’ve been in business, and that is what we can relate with. Mostly the campaigns we do are not about the motorcycles, it’s about the rider, it’s always about the journey and getting there that makes us come close to the heart of riding communities. It is about every rider who contributed to the brand to be somewhere, hence we are trying to take each and every story where we are. Unless and until we celebrate those stories I don’t think we can get close to the consumer as we do and that’s at the core of what Royal Enfield does.” Chhikara added.

Talking about how Royal Enfield filled the comradery between man and the machine as it doesn’t rely on social media influencers, Chhikara explained: “The brand leverages on the strong community based recommendations, and we run multiple programmes bringing the riders together where we empower and enable them by giving a platform to talk about their passion and common goals of riding. There are workshops to help these riders learn how to make better social media stories and reels.”

When asked about the measure of success for any campaign, Chhikara described the Quest for the Pole campaign, “We were not looking at numbers actually, we were looking at reaching each and every motorcyclist/motorcyclist enthusiast out there in each and every market across the globe. Of course, every rider out there would dream to do it and the idea was to bring awareness, this was also a way to say that we have arrived.” “Recently we launched a new motorcycle, it’s a new variant of Bullet on a new platform which was a content led campaign for us. In that campaign we wanted to get down to tier 2 and 3 markets. Therefore, all the content you’d see in that campaign culturally resonates with those markets, where we got the stories out of heroes people wanted to see. For example we did stories with multiple Asian Games winners or the Army men who have ridden the Bullet motorcycle.” Chhikara further added on content led campaigns where the objective can be different. 

(We got this information in a press release.)

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