Maybe I’ve been hiding under a rock for years, but it seems to me as if ‘storytelling’ is suddenly a bit of a buzz word in marketing circles. The first few times I heard it, I honestly panicked inside. Storytelling? What? Hey? Oh crikey, what have I not been doing all these years?
But when I thought about it, I calmed down. Because I think that ‘storytelling’ is something that many of us are doing without thinking.
I think that, broadly speaking, storytelling covers two separate things.
The first is the obvious one – when you tell a story in a piece of writing. A case study involves you storytelling. Charities use stories to tell you about the work they do. In both cases, the human element of the story means you can get emotionally involved. And because we make decisions with our heads and our hearts, that’s exactly the effect that’s intended.
The other meaning of storytelling is slightly more intangible. It’s about making sure that everything you do – whether it’s developing a new product or service, writing an article or launching a new marketing strategy – contributes positively to the image you want to create and the values your company has. To my mind, storytelling in this sense is similar to ‘brand’ (and the term ‘brand storytelling’ is very common). Like the first definition, storytelling in this context is about humanising your business and making it memorable, authentic and honest.
So, what do you think? Is that too simplistic? Is storytelling more complex than that? Is it important? Is it something you do, consciously or not?
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