The Secret To Better Storytelling

This post has been adapted from The Stanford Social Innovation Review

The world is flooded with stories. It's how we interact, share knowledge, connect and create. Stories exist at the core of the human experience.

Which is why, as a business or social enterprise, it's important to know how to tell your story well. 

Listed below are the top tips, adapted from the Stanford Social Innovation Review, on how to craft a compelling brand story.

Step One: Use Science

The science of storytelling doesn’t just tell us what makes one story better than the next. It also tells us that to use stories to drive belief and behavior change, we need to bring together the right ingredients, including:

1.  Identify a Target Community and Tell Stories That Connect to Who They Are: People consume information that is entertaining, reflects their existing beliefs or helps them be a better version of themselves. So, if we want to effectively engage people on issues, we must share entertaining stories that connect to what our target community cares about.

2. Choose the Right Storytelling: This starts with finding a great story that has the power to hold our target community’s attention.

3. Find the Right Messengers for the Story: Research tells us that the messenger is the message. It is not enough to simply create a great story, post it to your website, and wait for the change to begin. We need to go where people are.

4. Pair Important Stories With a Clear Call to Action: Calls to action should be specific rather than abstract, allow people to feel like their action will make a real difference, and be something people actually know how to do. 

 

Step Two: Cast The Right Characters

This means thoughtfully casting the three leading characters: the storyteller, the strategic convener, and the funder.

The Storyteller: The storyteller role can do many different things. This person or group can identify the right stories, which can include sharing existing films, co-creating new cuts, and even producing new stories altogether. The storyteller can also be an authentic voice to speak to audiences, serve as a magnet to draw people out, and share first-hand testimony about an issue.

The Strategic Convener: Great storytelling needs strategic thinking to know which audiences and which calls to action they can inspire. The strategic convener must deliberately design a strategy to utilize story to its fullest potential. Doing this well requires that the strategic convener identifies a very specific change goal, develop meaningful calls to action, and find partners who can agree on this vision for change. The strategic convener must understand the power dynamics in a given issue area and artfully pull together a target community—whether local advocacy groups, lobbyists, community leaders, or media—in the right way.

The Funder: Building stronger bridges between the art and advocacy worlds requires systems-level investment. Forward-looking funders can help create the time and capacity to develop not only one-off partnerships but also a robust ecosystem of collaboration. Through smart investments, we can build and hone new creative models of partnership that realize the fullest possibilities of a storytelling strategy.

 

Crafting a great story about your product, event or business doesn't have to be rocket science. The key ingredient is authenticity. Be authentic in your approach and you will find this cuts through the noise of world flooded with fake news and sensationalised social media posts.


Neridah Morris is the Comms & Marketing Manager at Seed, Creative Director at Thread Harvest, an ethical online fashion marketplace, and an alumnus of the Seed Entrepreneur Incubator Program. 

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