Storytelling for ephemeral media

By: Nucco Brain

May 16, 2019


#DMWF - Content Marketing - Digital Marketing - Social Marketing -

“It’s all about the storytelling – everything we do. Storytelling is at the centre.” Stefano Marrone, Creative Partner.

It was the idea of storytelling that Nucco Brain was founded on almost six years ago – that brands could communicate better with people by finding their story and telling it well than with fancy taglines and flashy TVCs.

The opportunity for authenticity

Social media – and specifically the way brands have approached social media like some kind of half-baked, 99% fat-free advertising channel – has hugely increased the demand for genuine interaction with brands. In amongst the noise, audiences are more willing than ever to engage with brands that are adding value in a way that feels authentic and real.

And quality storytelling through ephemeral content is an opportunity for brands to connect more effectively.

Spreading stories across media

Ephemeral content – temporary content like Instagram and Facebook stories – has changed the landscape of social media. And, for brands, it’s changed it for the better. Rather than fitting an entire brand message into a 30 second television commercial or a two minute YouTube video, brands can deploy their message over a variety of executions.

“Brands are learning to think about stories as an extended experience spread across different media forms, rather than many different standalone ads,” says Stefano.

That means a story could begin in a Facebook post, develop in an Instagram story, and be resolved in a YouTube clip. It’s a bigger picture approach toward storytelling in brand communication, and it’s a welcome step away from feeding the content frenzy.

But it also means brands need to be braver – and a little more creative.

Reactive no longer the be-all and end-all

For a while now, “reactive” has been the big buzzword in digital. Brands have been hyper vigilant for opportunities to show that they’re dialled in to cultural trends to piggy-back their own brand awareness.

But reactive is a double-edged sword. In the fever of constantly reacting, the core messaging of who the brand is gets diluted. Instead of lean, clean strategies, digital output becomes schizophrenic – brands stories became bulky, weighted down with unnecessary details.

It’s the difference between The Matrix and The Matrix’ sequels. The first was a tight masterpiece in quality storytelling; the sequels were bloated and dull. Which would you rather be?

Brands need to be consistent and committed to their overarching strategy, publishing content that supports the stories they want to tell. Sometimes that might mean missing out on those reactive moments – for the benefit of a clear, cohesive message.

Staying true to your brand story

Brands should still be reactive – but they should only be reactive to trends that actively support their brand story.

The brand story should be the measuring stick reactive opportunities are evaluated by.

And for God’s sake, don’t abandon listening to your audience. If anything, listen better. Brands need to know their audience so well that when those reactive opportunities arise AND they work with your brand story, you know whether it’s something that will add value to your audience. If not, leave it out.

Don’t forget the silent lovers

Brands can get worked up trying to win over the masses, but the truth is, the majority of negative engagement on social media is purely down to the fact that the people who love your product are too busy enjoying it to talk about it.

Bottom line, if your product is selling well, there’s probably no point in changing your entire brand strategy to go after a few stragglers who, let’s be honest, will probably never give you the love and affection you so desperately crave.

Want to hear more about ephemeral storytelling? Don’t miss out on Stefano Marrone’s panel presentation about Video and Ephemeral Content – How Brands should Effectively Storytell in a Crowded Environment on Day 1 of DMWF at 4:40pm.

Nucco Brain is a buzzing visual storytelling studio in London’s Tech City. We blend the old world and the new: the ancient tradition of storytelling and a youthful curiosity for diving headfirst into the latest technologies in content production, animation, VR and AR. We design visual experiences that capture the attention of an increasingly distracted audience. And that’s why our clients stick around. Our clients include DeBeers, Nokia, HSBC, WaterAid, Ethereum, Facebook, GSK, Campari, EDF, Nike, Deloitte, Lycamobile, John Lewis Partnership, Adidas, Merlin Entertainment, BBC and many more. For more information about Nucco Brain, check out their website: