I have always loved stories – whether they’re presented in song, film or print. Maybe that’s why I do what I do. Marketing is really all about telling stories. As a matter of fact, some marketing professionals refer to themselves as corporate storytellers which is a very accurate title.
Stories are an integral part of the human learning process. And they are essential in creating transformation and change. We need more than raw data to move us; we need the narrative, the why, the how and the who.
When I work on a project for a client, story is always central to the outcome. We may describe why a tech company is a great place to work for an employee recruitment piece, or, explain how a new product can make life easier for a business or individual. Sometimes the story revolves around an exceptional employee, student or boss.
A while ago I read a book called "Lead With a Story" by Paul Smith. It was not only well written but contained loads of examples of types of stories told within large corporations like Proctor and Gamble, Nike and others. Smith explains in depth how these stories build the company brand and customer relationship as well as the power of story to the internal organization. He breaks down the structure of a well told story. I go back periodically to revisit some of his insights, and recommend the book to anyone tasked with telling their organization's story.
Points to remember when structuring your corporate story:
Use common language when telling your story – no insider jargon if it’s for an outside audience.
Be sure to explain the background of the story to help ground the listener in the context.
Use active language to describe the development of the situation or event at hand.
Be sure to wrap up with the lesson learned or “moral” of the story.
Telling a good story in an authentic way is a key to engaging with your target audience and bringing your point home. And it’s so much more fun that simply presenting unadorned data.
Susan Reetz, of Clear Focus Media, LLC, is a writer/director/producer for film, video, web and print. Her scriptwriting and producing work has earned numerous local, national, and international awards. She also writes feature articles, brochure copy, news releases, web copy, and other promotional materials. She can be reached at 715-212-6239 or Susan@ClearFocus.Media.