Want to truly engage your key audiences and make a lasting impression? One surefire way is to tell a story.
Stories are the oldest form of “mass” communication, and some researchers think we’re hardwired to respond to them. We’re certainly trained to draw messages from them—think Aesop’s fables and classic novels—and that makes them invaluable for marketing communications. Stories help people relate to what you do, and compelling stories help you get media attention.
High-tech companies have long recognized the value of the founder’s story—so much so that the inventor developing breakthrough technology in his garage (naysayers be damned!) has become a cliché.
But there seems to be an endless appetite for stories of improbable success. That’s why, when telling the story of fair trade clothing manufacturer Indigenous for our client RSF Social Finance, we started with the founders’ early days of picking burrs out of handknit South American sweaters. It’s a memorable image that shows how far the company has come—Indigenous now produces a full line of premium fashion knits sold under its own label and through major brands—and illustrates the company’s commitment to its artisan supply chain.
A few more tips for telling stories effectively:
Use story structure. Stories have a plot with a beginning, middle, and end; crisis (or challenge) and resolution; and characters.
Make it personal. Have a central character your audience will relate to or be fascinated by.
Character counts. Don’t just recount the plot—include feelings, intuitions, or drive.
Remember the moral. Spell out how the story expresses your organization’s mission or value.
Download our Strategy>Shift guide 9 Ways to Make a Powerful Impression for more ways to help your business stand out from the crowd.