The Power of Storytelling By Suzanne Yap-Sprenkeler, Regional Managing Director, EASTWEST PR _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.” – Robert McAfee Brown
Storytelling is part art and science. It is tackled in many domains, from movie making, fiction writing to branding. In the corporate world, storytelling is a methodology used to develop the story lines (and elements) that will accrue to your client’s desired or aspirational message they want to convey, to generate awareness, positively shape the perception and ultimately build trust of the organisation’s brand with the intended audiences. As communicators, we often focus on strategic approach and implementation, even though readers are most intrigued by the world view. What’s the bigger connection? It is about them – the audience, and putting your business in the greater world context for your customers. One of the pioneers in bringing stories to life, using simple images and “one-liners” to convey concepts and support his verbal storytelling, was Steve Jobs. The popular TED Talks have also implemented this practice. Their world-class speakers are expected to speak in narratives that are simple while using powerful imagery and stories to convey their message. Many organisations forget to start telling stories within the context of a broader world view. Instead, they often start with the strategic approach. We have a greater chance of breaking down the complexity of the story if we can frame it appropriately. We also have a greater chance of getting a big placement if we can put story into broader context. It is important that we need to stop and ask:
- Why is this product or service important to end users?
- What problem does this product or service solve (strategic approach)?
- What is missing in the world that this product or service will deliver?
- What trends are happening in the marketplace (the global context) that create the right conditions for this now (World View)?
Notice we’ve gone from launching a product or service to building a story wrapper that is relevant and interesting? Why Use Storytelling? At EASTWEST PR, the value we add is our ability to build trust and drive adoption of our clients’ new ideas or innovations by their intended audience through effective storytelling techniques. In today’s world where people are bombarded with messages, a compelling story whether online or in print, helps break through the clutter, gets clients heard, and creates an emotional connection that moves people to action. How Does Storytelling Work? EASTWEST PR has developed a six-step formula for how to put stories to work programmatically, starting with the business problem you want to solve or the perception you want to create or change. This six-step prescriptive path is relevant to ALL stories. Stories should have a clear meaning. When the final line is spoken, your audience should know exactly why they took this journey with you. Storytelling may seem like an old-fashioned tool, because it is and that is what makes it so powerful. Life happens when we tell stories. A story can pierce through and venture to the heart where it matters. Data cannot inspire people to act even though it may be persuasive. To inspire action, one must tell a story, with their vision weaved seamlessly in, that fires the imagination and stirs the soul into action.