The Reality of Storytelling
Communication tactics, across all creative industries, from advertising to design to marketing, often involve some form of storytelling. Eliciting emotional responses from the audience is considered an essential element of communication campaigns as it is more liable to engage people on various levels. With emotional engagement, content becomes more relatable.
Why does this matter? Well, because it is just human nature for people to want to share experiences that stir their emotions by communicating the same to others. In the words of Robert McKee–
“Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact.”
When people develop strong, deep feelings around an experience or message, social sharing becomes almost impulsive – a recipe for successful and effective communication in the context of business!
Storytelling in communication isn’t new, but are we losing our grasp on forming an emotional engagement with our audiences? As we make way for modern communication tactics that are fact driven and capitalize on all things digital, that certainly seems to be the case.
Facts – hitting you fast and hard
Storytelling in communication is far more than just being memorable or entertaining. With facts to back up the credibility and legitimacy of a product or service, sales are made. Hurray, great! But more often than not, there is more to business than just sales numbers. In the long run, customer retention and brand loyalty come into play, and with that being the case, would hard facts be enough for sustenance? With the increasingly competitive nature of businesses across industries, this seems unlikely.
This is where emotional engagement comes in. Some form of emotional engagement ought to be evoked to show that the customers are trusted enough to build a lasting relationship with.
Too many businesses today are in a hurry to capitalize on social media – the current trend that shows no signs of slowing down despite having their fair share of sceptics. The focus these days is all about acquiring a sizable social media footprint. Businesses and communicators rush straight past the story to the tools of telling, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or the plethora of other social media platforms available at their disposal.
While there is no wrong in keeping up and building on trending communication platforms, long term values should be kept in mind as well. Thankfully, social media can be used to amplify strategic storytelling thus making the global marketplace still available for the taking.
Brands however, must remember to start their social media outreach by defining their brand’s story, purpose and core values. A fundamentally human story is needed for consumers to connect. Otherwise, no amount of social media tactics can create the desired contagious or lasting effect.
And in the brave new world?
In recent times, you’d be hard pressed to find a company that builds their communication outreach campaigns around stories. One of the first few that come to mind would be Heineken whose memorable and light-hearted campaigns usually build around the universally relatable and desirable themes of friendship and camaraderie. It is easy to see that the most effective of campaigns or businesses are those that present their content using storytelling and engage our emotions.
Need even more reason as to why storytelling in communication should be preserved and how you can do it? This infographic (click to view) sums it up perfectly!
By Yasmin Md Basir, PR Associate @ Corporate Media Services