6 Ways to Stand Out: Impactful Storytelling through Digital Content

July 30, 2021

Advertisements are a great tool for businesses. However, they can be annoying for consumers. Especially these days where ads seem to pop up in the middle of every video you watch online. This isn’t anything new, and people want more than just “buy this!” and “buy that!” from ads.

These days people want more, like community, and connections. They want to be entertained, they want to learn, they want to be told a story. That’s something most brands struggle with, as audiences think 60% of the content they see is irrelevant. In fact, 42.7% of the country’s internet users are already using ad blockers, to reduce the ads they see. That said, the challenge now is how do we pique their interest and keep them engaged?

This is what experts answered during the first Consumer Insighting and Storytelling Conference back in April 2018. The two-day seminar focused on understanding how consumers think and behave, and using those insights to craft engaging stories that make an impact. One of the speakers was former Xiklab Digital CEO, and current head of the Xiklab Group Arthur Policarpio. A digital marketing pioneer, he discussed how impactful stories drive results.


The Future (and the Present) is Online

Filipinos are VERY active online, in 2020, our average internet usage was at 11 hours every day. That’s close to half of an entire day, spent browsing social media, watching videos, or playing online games. Knowing that, investing in digital makes a lot of sense.

Now, how does one connect with consumers online? Well the story, or the content, is king. Content marketing leads to several brand performance improvements, from more visits to assets, to higher consideration and even conversion. Plus, these all happen for a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing.

These results make going digital very enticing. But then comes the daunting part. Since consumers have higher expectations, brands now have to face the challenge of providing better content – those that tell stories and offer experiences beyond functional benefits.

How do we do that? Here’s a handy guide with six content types that will help drive more meaningful connections, as shared by Policarpio during his session. Alongside those are a few examples of brands who’ve tried the task, and achieved it with great results.


ONE: Inspire

People love emotional stories that make them feel good. It’s why we underdog stories are usually beloved. Feel good movies like The Blind Side and Coach Carter have such an impact on audiences that they tend to share the story to their friends. Imagine this kind of positive response for brands. It boosts their visibility while creating a positive emotional connection.

Take Hyundai, for example. Their 2015 Message to Space campaign was an audacious attempt at storytelling – one that highlighted the unbreakable bond of family, while at the same time putting the brand at the center of the story. In return, the campaign was shared millions of times and covered by mainstream press around the globe. This poses a challenge to the rest of us, to take risks and go beyond what’s normal, because that may be where the strongest stories are.


TWO: Entertain

When making content for the Filipino audience, it’s important to keep them engaged. A good tip is to keep things light and funny.

Policarpio noted in his session that “some of the best shared, most entertaining stories in digital are co-created with consumers.” Because nowadays, consumers aren’t just consumers. They are storytellers themselves. And brands who can harness that innate creativity are bound to succeed.

One brand we helped using this philosophy now has a jingle that everyone remembers, thanks in part to this question – May RiteMED Ba Nito?

On its own, the song was entertaining and catchy, but we encouraged consumers to go nuts with it. We set up a video contest online, with the best submissions winning prizes. The outcome was overwhelming. There was a wide variety of renditions. Acapella, instrumental, EDM, acoustic. If people weren’t singing the jingle, they were dancing to it, or they were recreating the commercial it originated from. Those videos gave the brand 8.5 million video views, over 100 million impressions, resulting in free media values of PHP 11M. All of that from a Facebook post promoting a video contest.

Because consumers were not just entertained but were also encouraged to create their own entertainment, this story unfolded easily and organically.

Here are few other examples of videos we created for RiteMED, that align with consumer values that generated hundreds of thousands in views:
Tamang Alaga: Dad
Tamang Alaga: Ate Mom
Tamang Alaga: Apo
RiteMED – Mefenamic Acid


THREE: Educate

As Policarpio pointed out, we don’t always have to make consumers laugh or cry. There is also a big opportunity to provide them with educational content.

To do that, you look at your category, and figure out what kind of information your consumer is looking for. For banking and finance, consumers may want to read about different types of loans. For a food brand, they may be interested in recipes involving it as an ingredient. In fact, tools such as Google Trends can help get a glimpse of consumer search behavior, guiding you on what content to create.

This is precisely what we did for RiteMED. With the knowledge that Filipinos tend to self-medicate, we had two solutions. The first was to turn the brand into a health content provider, publishing up to 20 articles a month on disease information, diet and exercise tips, and the like. Through this, RiteMED became one of the country’s leading health resources.

The second solution was the Payo ni Dok series, or videos where doctors discussed health conditions and concerns. Published on Facebook and YouTube, the series earned over 4,000,000 views.

Looking at the brand itself, it isn’t anything too exciting, like a juicy burger, or a line of innovative gadgets. But all brands can be the subject of exciting stories. Once we dive into the minds of our consumers and figure out what they want, it won’t be too hard to find and create content that they’ll want to learn about.


FOUR: Inform

The simplest solutions can often be the most effective. Aside from or instead of educating consumers, also consider informing them. Supply them with basic, yet helpful knowledge that’s relevant to them. Of course, this will involve finding what information your audience searches for, and creating content based on that.

The information you provide doesn’t need to be complicated. For example, a tire company may want to show people how to properly change a tire, while a scarf brand might be interested in presenting different ways of wearing the accessory.

Policarpio shared that How-To videos are some of the most watched videos on YouTube, from both brands and content creators. These often contain straightforward tips. But they’re useful, and answer at least one question that consumers have. At times, that’s enough to make a connection with your audience, and may be preferable over giving them a large amount of information all at once.


FIVE: Help

Here’s a quick statistic: 64% of Filipinos prefer completing tasks digitally whenever possible, as it’s much easier. Convenience is now extremely important for the consumer. That makes sense. After all, we’re in the age of Grab, Lazada, and FoodPanda. What do these services have in common?

They all exist online.

Brands have an edge on the competition when they can make their consumers’ lives simpler. An example of this comes from our partnership with McDonald’s Philippines. Back when food deliveries mainly happened via phone call, we brought the process online, through McDelivery Mobile. This eliminated the need to make a phone call or use a clunky website.. As a result, McDelivery Mobile not only generated sales equal to an entire branch, but also won multiple awards.


SIX: Reward

Promos, discounts, freebies. These words are music to the consumer’s ears. Through rewards, they get to save money, even when they’re spending it through points and cashback features. This helps build customer loyalty. If they earn benefits by simply patronizing your brand, they’ll find it worthwhile to keep engaging. From there, a relationship and a loyalty is built.

Now, rewards often involve loyalty cards, stickers, stamps and coupons. But why not bring that to digital? Convenience is now a priority for consumers anyway, so the idea holds water.

Imagine earning points and freebies right from your phone. We did just this for a client, creating a cardless loyalty system to replace the hassle of paper coupons and stamp cards. With a simple tap on their screens, they had access to free products, discounts, and promos. The result? In just four months, app users spent over PHP1M on donuts, and redeemed 12,000 coupons. Not bad for a mobile app.


These success stories have their own tale to tell. Gone are the days of having to stick with uninteresting, non-impactful ads. As brands, we now have the freedom, as well as the challenge to tell stories that are actually worth sharing. And digital is a game changer when it comes to that. The potential to not only reach, but also impact millions of consumers is infinite.

Just some words of advice: Remember your consumer, find out how he thinks, and run with that. Be creative, be bold, be audacious. And don’t forget the six key words: inspire, entertain, educate, inform, help, and reward.

If you need a hand in making that happen, consider sending us a message. We’ll be more than happy to help you tell your tale.

Xiklab Digital

Level 10-1 One Global Place,
5th Ave, corner 25th Street
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig,
Metro Manila 1632
Landline: +63 (2) 3224-2171
Fax: +63 (2) 3224-2171

Business Development

[email protected]


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