How Kaspersky used the six-step storytelling formula to combat loneliness

Written by Ruth Knowles, Head of Corporate Campaigns at Kaspersky

24 February 2021


At Kaspersky, we’ve worked for years with Berkeley to develop our PR campaigns using their storytelling model. And we keep coming back to that approach because it works. Storytelling gives us a way to convey our messages that resonates and helps us reach more customers. It gives us an opportunity to demonstrate our expertise and work towards making the world a safer place.

As Berkeley’s CEO Chris Hewitt says, “people remember stories”. And at Kaspersky, we want people to remember the security messages in our stories. But we know that first, we need to reach them with something that causes a human connection.

So how do we make this a human story, make people see pitfalls without fearmongering and in a way that they will pay attention?

I recently joined Chris in his latest storytelling webinar, to share a perfect example of how we put this storytelling approach into action at Kaspersky, through the Find Your Tribe campaign, which we delivered with Berkeley last year.

Following their six-step storytelling process, our campaign created a plot that resonated with our audience, so much that it became one of our highest performing campaigns of the year. Here, I lay out the steps of our storytelling approach and the results it helped us deliver.

Using the human connection to get the message across 

For this campaign, we wanted to focus in particular on why people were using the internet to create and maintain relationships. So we started to look at how people use connected devices to meet people for love, for common interests or for friendship. We began to craft a story around that using the storytelling principles. But then COVID happened. And we had to pivot – our message took on a whole new significance.

Our hero is on a mission

As everyone found themselves locked at home almost overnight, with little-to-no social interaction, being online became even more important in our everyday lives. Without the internet, people faced becoming isolated. Therefore, our story’s hero became the person using the internet to connect.

We realised how the internet had become a lifeline to all of us – how it can provide us with a vital connection to things we need, people we miss and companionship we crave. People were now emotionally invested in their online safety and security because they needed it for connection.

But there is a problem…

Our hero faces a challenge. As we rushed to connect in the early days of the pandemic, we ran the risk of cutting internet corners and falling into security traps. So, we used research and data to back up that story, asking questions like Did you feel more or less lonely last week on an average day compared to an average day in February 2020? – or Does technology help you feel more connected with friends or family who live far away?. This gave us key points to corroborate our story and to bring our narrative to life so that our audience could relate to what we said.

We’ll lead them on a journey to the other side

Once we had a story that we knew people were interested in, it was important to continue to tell the tale, and to reinforce our messages. At this point in the story, Kaspersky was the guide, taking our reader towards safety.

So how did we develop the story as the pandemic evolved and we saw new opportunities to continue to educate audiences? We used the same storytelling techniques to repurpose our messages and make them topical around key events, such as Blue Monday in January 2021.

Because the story is a human one, and full of connection, the message is still relevant. The topicality of the date gives us a reason to retell the story in a different way – using the same message and framework with a different angle.

The results 

The storytelling approach was a huge success for Kaspersky and our Find Your Tribe campaign. What was initially a European campaign, grew to global levels after capturing imaginations around the world.

With 500 million media impressions, 300 million online impressions, broadcasting coverage and almost 300 articles published off the back of the research conducted; this was the second best-performing global campaign for Kaspersky in 2020. And we’ve even got proof of tangible action being taken off the back of our story: in Germany, a volunteer group has started writing letters to those who are lonely or isolated during the lockdown, inspired by coverage of the report on a German news broadcast.

The success of the campaign shows the power of storytelling and the momentum it can gather for brands globally.