The use of sounds can have a similar effect in a brand’s storytelling. For example, take the website for Costa Navarino, a Mediterranean resort. When you hit the home page, you’re greeted with lush scenic photography. Next, you’re treated to natural sounds of the environment: birds chirping, the breeze, gentle waves lapping and then… crickets. It wasn’t hard to imagine myself sitting on a balcony on a distant Greek island, taking in the view and the world around me.
Another benefit of audio: It’s a good storytelling aid when you don’t have the money for high-end video production. When Disner worked on low-budget films that couldn’t afford to shoot expensive scenes, the directors would sometimes rely on sound to tell the story.
“Instead of filming a car crash, which could prove expensive and problematic, the same information was passed on to the viewer using sound effects, which had the same overall result and saved the production a lot of money and time,” Disner says.
GE used audio storytelling to great result in their recent podcast The Message. The series follows a fictional protagonist, Nicky Tomalin, trying to decipher a code from outer space using real-life GE technology. Producing this content as a show on Netflix would have been a tremendous undertaking, but through the magic of audio, Nicky’s world comes to life just as effectively. The branded content quickly became a hit on iTunes: With more than a million listeners, The Message bumped to the service’s No. 1 spot for podcasts.
In an interview with Tech Times, GE’s global creative director Andy Goldberg explained that selling the idea of a brand—rather than specific consumer products—allowed for greater (and more creative) storytelling. “Coming up with a fictional narrative around the idea of listening, something that’s inherent in a lot of our devices…felt natural because we could bridge that gap into what’s happening.”
This is a perfect use of audio in storytelling: GE was able to showcase a multimedia format not only to promote brand awareness but also to demonstrate the innovation of their technology in a fun and unique way.
Including multimedia content in your brand story adds a layer of texture and richness. From slideshows and interactivity, to podcasts and sound effects and even new media like virtual reality, stimulating your audience with elements that appeal to the senses, like sight or sound, can be an effective way to make your brand’s content stand out. That isn’t to say that engaging, descriptive copy isn’t important, because it is. But just as paragraphs replete with details and quotes help to inform the thesis of an essay, so does the use of multimedia in storytelling give life to words onscreen.