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The Side Dish

There’s No Storytelling Without a Story

Curtis Steinhoff / 6.19.2018

One of the biggest buzzwords in corporate America today is storytelling. In fact, I recently read about a trend in select companies to name a Chief Storytelling Officer. While the concept of storytelling is not new, its effective use by company leadership and those throughout an organization has never been more important.

storytelling

While the concept of storytelling is not new, its effective use by company leadership and those throughout an organization has never been more important.

The Art of Storytelling

Since the dawn of time, humans have been drawn to the art of storytelling. Whether shared around prehistoric fires, shouted in the public square or immortalized in print and broadcast form, communication is much more engaging and effective when it tells a compelling story. This is especially important in today’s cluttered media environment.

Attention Distraction

There are virtually an unlimited number of messages, images and more that compete for your attention and reaction. According to Radicati, as of 2018 there are about 124.5 billion business emails sent and received each day. And digital marketing experts estimate that most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day. In the area of texts, tweets, posts and more, the competition for attention is even greater than it has ever been. This information overload is directly impacting most people’s lives.

According to Asurion, for example, Americans check their phones more than 80 times a day. Often, you only have a sentence or two to pull the reader into the message, whether it is an email, post or news story.

Critical in Times of Innovation or Change

Disruptive business ideas require investors, potential employees, elected officials, customers and more to believe in the vision that the creators and leaders are projecting. Storytelling can encourage them to enact a compelling narrative, leading them to support, engage and react.

One of the best examples today is Elon Musk. When communicating his vision for battery technology and electric vehicles for Tesla, he doesn’t spend his time talking about the nitty gritty details of the tech. He illustrates how these products will improve the quality of our lives and the environment.

He also doesn’t get into the weeds when talking about launching rockets at SpaceX. Instead, he taps into our collective fascination of space exploration. He places you at the steering wheel of that Tesla convertible as it shoots through space, making you believe in a future of possibilities. And if you need proof that people can believe in something before it is reality, just look at Tesla’s stock price.

Don’t Bury the Lead

Storytelling is also important for those of us working with the news and social media.

  • Opening a new building is not news. But if that new headquarters is implementing futuristic green technology and renewable design, there may be a story.
  • Few things are more boring than an insurance claim. Unless that story chronicles the adventures of an energetic yellow lab that eats an entire beehive.
  • Tribal gaming in and of itself is no longer news. But people will become involved in the story of a tribal member being the first in her family to graduate college thanks to gaming revenues. Or they might read profiles of the enormous impact tribal revenue taxes have on state education funding.

They say everything old is new again. Storytelling has been around since humans began communicating. But in today’s digital society we’re painting on different walls – and drawing a virtual crowd is today’s latest rave.

Storytelling at BIG YAM

The BIG YAM communications team is passionate about telling our clients’ stories. Watch this great video to see some of our favorite storytelling moments so far: https://bigyam.com/capabilities/pr-social/

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