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Multi-Media Storytelling: Getting an Edge on your Competition

By: Wayne S. Roberts

It has never been more true that reaching your audiences can’t be done with one media alone.

The imperative of multi-media marketing is a fact of life because your customers are reading, watching, listening, and seeing things out in the world. They’re attending webinars, visiting chat lines and forums, they’re video conferencing… they’re everywhere, all at once. You might think you need to be too. Wrong. You can’t be everywhere at once and expect to grow the business without breaking the bank.

So, like every decision you make, when you invest in advertising and branding, it has to be about creating an emotional connection to your audience through storytelling that is financially sustainable.

Only when your audience is emotionally invested in your brand will they become advocates and loyal members of your brand community. And the most effective way to evoke emotions in your audience is through multi-media storytelling.

Video Victorious
Video is one of the most powerful tools to employ. It performs much better than static imagery on social media because it’s immersive and immediate. And it’s a great payoff to blogs and other content you may post or promote via pay-per-click ads or boosted social posts. But it’s just one part of a well-rounded, integrated multi-media approach.

Hits from the Blog
Blogging is critical to your cannabis business. Your focus should be on publishing educational and entertaining content and sharing it on your social media channels. In an ideal world, your audience will see that content, like it, and share it with their own audiences. Using your social media accounts to tease and engage people to watch a longer-form video on your website is a proven path to purchase.

A dedicated cannabis blog will also engage your reader to know more about the industry and help convert them into customers, even before they get to the store. For cannabis marketing, online engagement is essential, and that’s exactly what blogging, social media, and content marketing will do for you.

These are cornerstones of a manageable multi-media investment, which will all grow your brand community, provided they are created and coordinated based on some fundamental rules of engagement.

Create Your Brand Persona
Every story needs a storyteller. When listening to a great anecdote, joke, or tale, the person doing the telling matters as much as the story itself.

Storytellers need to have personality and charm. Preferably, they share some of the values and attributes that the audience does. To tell a brand story well, tell it with a well-crafted brand persona.

“Storify” Your Offering, Chapter by Chapter
Create chapters of your brand story by leveraging your core values and key insights–those things that define and differentiate your brand in the market. For example, you can focus on the cognitive effects of cannabis or how it can lead to a more relaxed, positive lifestyle. Talk about product summaries, market trends, or your customer service process.

Keep Your Brand Tone in Tune
When you embrace multi-media storytelling, it doesn’t mean you develop a multiple personality disorder. No matter what you say or where you say it, you need to present a consistent voice. It can be professional, authoritative, or informal. Choose one that fits the emotional touchstones mentioned earlier and let it “colour” your brand story on every media platform.

You could have the greatest content in the world, but if you don’t embrace consistency, you lose out on a fundamental of branding: familiarity breeds loyalty.

Production Value = Perceived Value
When you engage in multi-media marketing, it’s essential to understand what sort of media you’re good at. Unless you’re a full-service ad agency, you’re not likely a jack-of-all-trades. Good at writing? Great! Double down on it. New and naïve about video? Find somebody to help you.

Podcasts and webinars make your head spin? Again, enlist pros to help out. Just ensure they understand your brand persona and tone, so they don’t tinker with it to suit their approach.

And be smart about investing in production values which is another rule of the multi-media platform game. Production value equals perceived value. The more investment you put into the creation and quality of your content, the more people will perceive value in it and assign that value to your brand and your product/service offering.

Stay the Course and Win
When you discover the media wherein you’re most agile, you must be as persistent as you are consistent. You can’t drop one great campaign and think you’re done. There’s no set-it-and-forget it. If it’s not something you can do on a regular basis, then hire the right people who will work to create a long-term content strategy worthy of your brand.

Multi-media storytelling is a powerful way to grow your business by sharing stories that engage with your audience. If they like your story, they’ll remember it, they’ll act on it, and they’ll share it.

Using a multi-media approach wisely and consistently will foster a deeper connection with your brand community and clearly position you as a retailer who offers more than just bud for bucks.

Wayne S. Roberts is Principal at Blade Creative Branding. He brings award-winning experience to Blade’s clients, including those in the cannabis sector where Blade was instrumental in the branding and launch of MedReleaf.