‍Episodic Storytelling: Why Serialised Content Captures Hearts (and Wallets):

‍Episodic Storytelling: Why Serialised Content Captures Hearts (and Wallets):

Episodic content offers viewers bite-sized, yet compelling stories. When combined, a rich tapestry of events and characters are formed...

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In an era of constant change and shifting values, it is only through episodic storytelling we can truly connect and make a difference in the lives of our audience.

In the content-saturated digital age, the battle to capture the audience's attention intensifies. Instead of a single, long narrative, episodic content offers viewers bite-sized, yet compelling stories. When combined, a rich tapestry of events and characters are formed, all of whom exist in the same story world. 

When it comes to understanding the influence and power of episodic storytelling, there are perhaps few better examples than Indiana Jones, where the archaeologist-adventurer, Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones Jr., takes us through a series of perilous journeys, each distinct yet interconnected.

So what has made Indiana Jones so successful, and given it such longevity? The answer can be found in the art and science of a particular kind of storytelling: episodic storytelling.

One of many benefits of episodic storytelling is in its ability to maintain a viewer's interest over extended periods. While continuous narratives can often become monotonous or complex, episodes provide a way to reset, introduce new characters, settings and challenges to be overcome.

This keeps the content fresh and engaging. Jones exemplifies persistence and resilience in the face of adversity in his global adventures, each of which throws him into new and exotic locations. From the deserts of Egypt in Raiders of the Lost Ark to the Himalayas in Temple of Doom, to the bustling streets of Syracuse in Italy, in the 2023 installment, Dial of Destiny.

The Allure of Serialised Content

Episodic storytelling allows for diverse themes and messages. Each Indiana Jones film grapples with different cultural, moral and philosophical issues, all while staying true to the essence of adventure, persistence and a refusal to be deterred by setbacks. The "Temple of Doom" touches upon themes of faith and sacrifice, while "The Last Crusade," delves deep into the relationship between father and son.

Anticipation Builds Engagement

Just as television series leave viewers on cliffhangers, the audience's curiosity is renewed: Where will Indy go next? What artifact is he after? Who are his new allies or foes?

How Brands Can Benefit

Taking an episodic approach allows you to develop characters gradually, discover the layers of their personalities, reveal their motivations, fears, and vulnerabilities. Indiana Jones isn’t just the rugged archaeologist with a whip and hat we meet in the first film. We learn about relationships with different family members in each film, his past, and his growth as a character. Such character insight would be challenging to achieve in a singular narrative.

Episodic storytelling is a compelling proposition for many brands, one which many are using to keep viewers coming back for more. Serialised content recreates this anticipation in the brand sphere. By releasing content in episodes, brands cultivate a sense of expectancy that fosters regular audience interaction.

Deep Dive into Narratives

While standalone content provides a snapshot, serialised content offers a panorama. Brands can explore complex narratives, delve deep into character developments, and build intricate story arcs. This depth makes the content more immersive and relatable.

Consistent Touchpoints with Audience

Regular episodic releases ensure brands consistently remain at the forefront of their audience's minds. Without being overtly promotional, It's a strategic way of maintaining brand recall.

The Business Case for Episodic Storytelling

Increased Traffic and Viewership

With every new episode, there's a spike in website traffic and social media interactions. Regular viewers return, recommend to their peers and new viewers join the bandwagon, often going back to consume earlier content.

Enhanced Data Collection

Serialised content allows for consistent tracking of engagement levels, audience preferences, and drop-off points. This data is invaluable for refining marketing strategies and coming up with new ideas for future episodes. 

Building Brand Loyalists

When viewers invest time in a brand's story, they’re essentially investing in the brand itself, which translates into brand loyalty over time as the emotional connection intensifies. Audiences that resonate with a brand's narrative become its most vocal advocates, driving organic growth through word-of-mouth.

Spotlight on Success

Brands like Nike have successfully leveraged episodic storytelling. Its YouTube series "Margot vs. Lily" – revolves around two sisters and their challenges, but it wasn’t just about promoting sportswear. It encapsulated themes of  personal growth, competition and perseverance. The series was viewed and shared by millions but also resonated emotionally with its target demographic, solidifying Nike’s position as a brand that understands and celebrates its audience.

How PBS can help

Our aim at Powered By Stories is to make sure that our clients see the progress they are making and the opportunities ahead of them on their journey. By capturing on film, episodic storytelling provides an opportunity to connect the overarching journey to what people are experiencing on a collective level – breathing life and a sense of meaning into the same or similar journey.

In the content-saturated digital age, serialised storytelling stands out for its ability to forge deep, lasting connections. It draws viewers into a narrative web, holding them spellbound episode after episode. It’s a golden ticket for brands that want to capture not just fleeting attention, but hearts and wallets too.

It is only through taking an episodic approach that we can bridge a gap between the overarching principles we stand for and objectives we’re working towards,  and the reality around us each day symbolised by the stories we tell– that real progress begins to become truly possible.

About the author


Senior Content Strategist


I'm a seasoned content strategist and creative writer with over a decade of experience in the digital marketing industry.

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