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.
- 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.