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Digital Storytelling | Unlocking The Key Elements to Effective Ads

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My thesis aims to uncover the ultimate strategy behind short form visual stories, otherwise known as the digital advertisment. In this thesis, I analyze traditional storytelling, visual storytelling, and short-form visual storytelling in order to uncover the best practices advertisers

Abstract

My thesis aims to uncover the ultimate strategy behind short form visual stories, otherwise known as the digital advertisment. In this thesis, I analyze traditional storytelling, visual storytelling, and short-form visual storytelling in order to uncover the best practices advertisers should use when crafting a digital advertisement. 

Storytelling “reveals elements and images of a story while also catalyzing the imagination of the listener” (National Storytelling Network, 2017).  This tradition has two purposes for society: a neurological structure, and a social mechanism (for historic preservation, human interaction, and a vehicle for connecting with others) (Gottshcall, 2012; Scott, 2012; Paul, 2012; Woodside, 2008). 

Visual Storytelling is “using photography, illustration, video, (usually with a musical enhancement) to guide” the human brain along a plotline, and has an unlimited timeframe (Ron, 2017). There are seven key elements to effective visual storytelling: A listener/audience, an element of realism coupled with escapism, a focus on the dread of life, an element of the unknown, emotion, simplicity, and a three-part plot structure (Andrews, 2010; ProQuest, 2012; Zak, 2014; Stanton, 2014; Reagan, 2016; Jarvis, 2014; Petrick, 2014)

In the words of Sholmi Ron, from a marketing perspective, “Visual [short hand] Storytelling is a marketing strategy that communicates powerful ideas through a compelling story arc, with your customer at the heart of the story, and delivered through interactive and immersive visual media – in order to create profitable customer engagements" (Ron, 2017). This advertising strategy has four best practices: non-obvious logo placement, a comedic emotion, multiple emotional arcs, and a relevant message (Golan, 2017; Teixeira, 2015; Graves, 2017, Teixeira, 2017). These are important to understand because, in 2017, online consumers can be described as skeptical, conscious of content, individualistic, and drawn to authenticity (Teixeira, 2014). 

To supplement my findings, I conducted primary research by analyzing the 2017 Super Bowl videos against a criteria created using the best practices previously identified (in Part 1 and Part 2). Through the data collection of the 66 videos, I uncovered the most popular plotline is "fall than rise," the most popular emotions are humor, inspiration, and empathy and people tend to have a preference towards videos that are more realistic and simplistic in nature. 

In the end, I recommend that advertisers identify an authentic yet relevant message, while employing a comedic, inspirational, or empathic tone, and that they place their ads exclusively for their target market. Additionally, producers should use a fall then rise plotline (with multiple mini plot peaks and valleys), a "logo-pulsing" strategy, and a minimal amount of characters and settings to keep the audience's focus on the ad’s message.

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2017-05

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Gen Z, Influencers, and the Luxury Fashion Industry

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The goal of this research study is to examine the nature and effects of social media marketing and the role it has played towards driving Gen Z into the luxury fashion industry. In addition, qualitative exploration focused on uncovering the

The goal of this research study is to examine the nature and effects of social media marketing and the role it has played towards driving Gen Z into the luxury fashion industry. In addition, qualitative exploration focused on uncovering the reason behind why this market chooses to purchase luxury products and investigated the relationship between social media influencers, luxury brands, and their consumers.
Through 12 qualitative research interviews, five key insights were suggested from the results of the study: people buy luxury to fit in or stand out in social groups, social media marketing portrays a false reality, social media has contributed to the rise of Gen Z consumers in luxury fashion, social media has normalized owning luxury products, and social media has caused lowered self esteem and social pressure amongst Gen Z. These insights can be explained through a triangular framework, making up a marketing ecosystem involving the brand, the social media influencer, and the consumer. These three roles work together to buy and sell goods from one another. If one of the players fails to do their role, the relationships fall apart.
Given phones and apps are highly personal items often only used by one individual, understanding and comparing the ads and images one user is exposed to versus another can be very tricky. Recently, the Federal Trade Commission has increased regulations over native advertisements when viewers became unable to decipher ad from reality. Gen Z’s may inadvertently compare themselves to influencers, ultimately causing lowered self esteem when they cannot possess or achieve the lifestyle of these individuals. These insights are important to help understand how to negate the negative effects of social media marketing and propel companies to be more transparent in their marketing initiatives to reduce social pressure and poor mental health amongst Gen Z. Luxury brands could utilize more explicit differentiators on paid advertisements compared to editorial material to make audiences more knowledgeable of the type of content they are viewing. In addition, society should change the way people perceive online content and have more open discussions surrounding the ethics of native advertising and decipection social media posts may cause. The way young users interact and process social media posts is very complex. Investigating this topic is important to prevent the possible underlying repercussions of social media and help marketers best cater toward this market in an open, ethical fashion.
This study concludes with managerial applications and directions for further research. Businesses should prepare to face increasing guidelines regarding native advertising. These guidelines may include requirements to have explicit markings on branded content and binding contracts with social media influencers. To work around these restrictions, the future of luxury fashion indicates that direct to consumer strategies are on the rise. Video livestream retail and social commerce are already taking the Chinese market by storm and it's only a matter of time before American brands will be forced to adapt to keep up with changing trends in the marketplace. DTC brands benefit from having a direct channel to the consumer without interpretation or the need for intermediaries. Given this research primarily focuses on the links between the brand to influencer and influencer to consumer, future exploration could focus on the channel between the brand and consumer through direct selling. Going forward, brands may prefer to interact with their customers directly, without the use of an influencer, to help establish a close relationship with their audience through a seamless customer journey.

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2022-05