From 40,000-year-old cave paintings to online video streaming channels today, human existence is a tale of tales. Even our remembered heritage is called his-story. The appeal of storytelling lies in its power to unify us through universal themes, common challenges and shared victories. While storytelling is an art, it is possible to harness its power for business quickly if you have the right ingredients.
Whether the quest is for the Iron Throne, to save half of all life in the Universe, or to make your brand number one, it always has to take center stage. However, no goal generates excitement unless you relate it personally to your audience.
Weave a story around the objective. Tell your audience how it will affect them as individuals. Align your purpose with theirs so they are as invested in the mission as you are. Brands can achieve this by incorporating a social objective into their business mission, blurring the line between the two.
In the past, heroes would invariably be people from within the company working on The Quest. Consumers today, however, are no longer content to watch from the sidelines. They want to be a part of the mission and to see their contributions at work, even if they are not personally recognized.
Invite micro-influencers to be part of your team of heroes. They have the ability to connect with your audience far more intimately – and effectively – than the brand itself. User-generated content expands the reach, power and intimacy of the stories you tell.
What lies between you and your goal? The Villains. Time and again we see that opposition to a common antagonist is one of the greatest unifiers of all. In the world of branding, choosing a rival company may work but is not the best option. What really drives people to act is a common problem. The Villains can comprise the ills that your Corporate Social Responsibility seeks to address.
For example, cleaning up the oceans helps maintain marine wildlife diversity for your customers and their children to enjoy. By making ocean pollution the villain, you bring virtually everyone to your side.
One thing to remember is that perfection does not resonate with the average person. Portray your brand as an entity that is committed to being the best, but is not there yet. Solicit input from your audience and make the story about them as much as it is about you. In the end, storytelling is a useful tool for businesses to use to express their mission, values, the brand, customer relationship, or strategic intent.