The Role Of StoryTelling in PR

2019-12-16 by Ronn Torossian
StoryTelling in PR
Storytelling in PR

For many, communicating to connect with an audience is the ultimate goal of public relations. That’s why digital storytelling is a communications trend with no end in sight, with skilled story writers a vital part of any modern marketing team.

Take, for example, a shopper looking for a new pair of shoes. On one rack, a company advertises how many pairs of shoes they’ve sold in the past five years. On another, a firm heralds how a portion of its sales are diverted to public projects in needy communities. More often than not, the second firm will be the one to seal the deal.

A firm’s stories are some of its most valuable marketing assets: whether this is the company origin story, tales of client success, employee case studies or recognition from the community. But what does effective storytelling actually entail?

Steve Clayton, Chief Storyteller at Microsoft, has divided significant stories into the “four Ps:”

People – The story being told has to be about a character, preferably a hero experiencing the archetypal hero’s journey. Places – These refer to places relevant to a company, including the place of manufacture or office headquarters.
Process – This element refers to how products are manufactured. Products – The act of telling a story in order to launch a product, rather than explicitly trying to make a sale.

“Our attention is constantly under attack,” writes Clayton, “People are trying to put information in front of us.”

These elements may seem like common sense, but it can be easy to neglect one or all of them. Getting storytelling right, on the other hand, carries with it a host of advantages.

These include:

  • Influencing shifts in thought and behavior
    • Good storytelling is a great way to convince an audience of a brand’s core message, and convert them into fans of the product and perhaps even brand ambassadors.
  • Attracting the attention of an audience
    • Storytelling cuts through the noise of the modern marketplace and gets a message heard in a way that is succinct and memorable.
  • Draw an audience into a brand narrative
    • Good storytelling will make a business’ news and new content more relatable. On the flip side, a lack of storytelling will create a barrier to familiarity.
  • Assisting in the communication of technical concepts
    • Storytelling is a great way to make dry content more easily digestible. When well-told, a story can make even the dullest details of a product seem all the more exciting.
  • A brand voice lends credibility
    • It’s difficult, if not impossible, to copy a great story. A brand that goes that extra mile to write an accurate, but also the emotive story is one that will win audiences over in droves.

The communications world is one fraught with competing firms, and competing messages. For brands looking to stand out and make a real impact on consumers, good storytelling cannot be underestimated.

Ronn Torossian: Insights from a Native New Yorker and CEO of 5WPR

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 250 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, and a recipient of Crain’s New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities