Put Humans Back Into Your Storytelling

by

robin-rectenwald2

In a world where we count followers, clicks, users and bloggers, it can be hard to forget that there are humans behind those screens. As we continue to use various forms of technology to communicate with our audience, we need to think of our emerging media platforms more like a campfire as opposed to screens.

In other words, stop grouping your hundreds or thousands of followers into one and instead, start thinking about them as individuals. What do individuals want to hear from your brand? Last year, the Brand Storytelling Report found that there is still a high demand for storytelling and that these stories should feature REAL people. See the infographic below summarizing its key findings.

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Last week, I gave tips on how to incorporate emerging media into your marketing & communications plan. This week, I’m sharing three tips on how to add quality content that your customers actually want to see and read.

1. REMEMBER YOUR ROOTS
Stay grounded. Remember where your company came from and what your founders did to make it a unique and successful business. Learn about your history. Talk to your past and current employees and share with your customers this part of your story. Customer want transparency and honesty. Why not share your company’s history, its people and what makes it so unique?

2. INCORPORATE CLASSIC STORYTELLING ELEMENTS
Storytelling has always been a part of human civilization. While today we get our fair share of storytelling from entertainment such as books, movies and tv shows, these stories all contain common elements that every great story should have:

  • Humans (characters): Every story introduces a protagonist, which the audience slowly learns about throughout the course of the story. Your brand’s story should also feature a human or two.
  • Action (plot): There wouldn’t be a story if it didn’t have some type of exciting plot or action for the audience to follow along with. What are the humans doing in your story? Is it interesting? Is it genuine? Don’t make the action all about your brand. Make it an interesting story that people will want to hear, read or watch.
  • Solution (the end): This is the part where marketers can really be creative to find an authentic way to tie your brand to the story, whether it is offering a solution, an answer or maybe just a means. I was recently reminded of an incredible example at West Virginia University’s INTEGRATE conference in Chicago. Remember Extra Gum’s #GiveExtraGetExtra campaign? Take a look at the ad that literally brought tears to eyes, as any great story has the power to do.

3. IGNITE EMOTION
Whatever story you pick, this story should ignite a powerful emotion that will make people want to act. In the example above, the message was to “Give Extra, Get Extra,” or encourage people to buy and share the gum. Or, maybe your brand wants to use emerging media to create an experience for your customers. Whatever you want your call to action to be, make sure that it is powerful enough to emotionally affect people. This is where marketers will really see results.

Have you created a human story that really resonated with your audience and sparked action? Take a seat at the “digital campfire” and share it with us!

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