Storytelling in Business and the Business of Storytelling

Video Production, Photography, Design Solutions, Twist Creative Studio. The art of storytelling

What is Storytelling?

Storytelling describes the social and cultural activity of sharing stories, those stories are told sometimes with improvisation, theatrics and yes even embellishment. Every person, place, culture and so on has its stories and narratives. They can be shared as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation or instilling moral and cultural values. To tell a good story there are crucial elements of stories and storytelling that make storytelling complete. They include plot, characters and narrative point of view which we can break down into the 4 P’s of storytelling. The term “storytelling” can refer in a narrow sense specifically to oral storytelling and also in techniques used in other media to unfold or disclose the narrative of a story [Wikipedia]. For our conversation we’ll be focused on the latter, techniques used in media.

Let’s start with the obvious, stories need an audience, otherwise no one is hearing your story. Audiences are defined as the assembly spectators or listeners, but you are not looking for just any audience, you need YOUR audience. Understanding and targeting the correct audience is the most critical part of the process in effective storytelling. It would certainly be difficult to sell tractor maintenance to a heart surgeon. Although that might be an extreme example it makes the point that even a remotely disconnected message can be of disinterest to your intended audience.

Good stories prove their relevance to the audience. Audiences today expect so much more than from just a few years ago, simply telling them why they should purchase a product or service just isn’t enough—there needs to applicable. Good storytelling doesn’t assume relevancy; it proves it; great storytelling makes the point to your audience that they need to take the time to listen (or watch in the case of video) to the story you are telling them. A well-crafted story makes people feel something forging that ever critical emotional connection. Show your audience the evidence and the relevance, use comparison, data, show the benefits, etc.—don’t simply just tell them—MOVE THEM.

At Twist Creative Studio, we focus on crafting unique creative visual stories. What is the story that you want to tell?

Leadership storytelling is powerful

Understand their hearts. Leaders, and the companies they lead, must have a consistent way of communicating what’s in their hearts through words and action. … They, in turn, use their stories to communicate authentically, inspiring others and create a lasting impact. Many businesses over look the importance of internal communication and focus heavily on communicating with their audiences.

Does this sound familiar; internal communications are broken, emails go out that no one reads, fliers pinned to bulletin boards that no one notices, and meetings where the attendees are checking social media on their phones rather than engaging the topic at hand. In today’s social media-driven, no-walls world of work, everyone who works at your company is a brand ambassador.

No matter what marketing creates, no matter how much money you spend on advertising, what your employees say about the organization carries weight with the outside world. Your audience is aware of this and is immersed in it. Your audience makes purchase decisions based on their emotion rather than logic; storytelling appeals to this emotion and has power in decisions making.

Leaders and businesses alike need to create content that has emotion. Stories that explore the emotional aspects of the subject matter. Your goal should be to make the audience feel something, and make them want to enlist in the cause you’re promoting. Most people are far more likely to remember and believe in something that has an emotion attached to it.

4P's of Storytelling

People

Great storytelling should describe the role it plays in a persons life. In that event, the story needs to resonate with the listener. Its important that you create a strong connection with your audience. To attain the emotion that you want to elicit first find the words that help you convey them and build upon that message from the persons perspective — why this is important to them. Not to overlook the “People” in the 4P’s is two fold. Meaning, there is a person, or persona, telling the story to another person, the audience, that completes the connection. Sometimes the persona can be an inanimate object or thing as well. These types of storytelling are “novels of circulation” or “object narratives,” and are very useful tools in storytelling.

Place

Location in the story, where it is taking place, has a significant role in story telling. Take your audience to where the concept is. When you narrate any event or experience in the form of storytelling there is a need to build location or place in a way in which the audience can relate. In storytelling don’t expect the audience to be aware of the location of story. Therefore, it is essential to describe the place adequately. From a brand strategy point of view, storytelling with a sense of place showcases brand value and provides stakeholders with reasons to engage.

Purpose

Purpose is what your story says to the audience, it describes the meaning of your story. It’s what you want your viewer to take away from the story. By having a well-defined Purpose, you take on one clear vision that resonates throughout your team. The purpose in storytelling is to not only spread accurate information, but to elevate the message, and brand, by demonstrating its value to individuals for both internal audiences and external audiences. So be sure that your audience easily understand the purpose of the story.

Plot

Plot is the underlying structure of any story. It allows you to maximize the impact of a story by creating an emotional arc. That emotional arc is defined through what is known as a three acts structure. The parts of a three acts structure include; establish, build, and resolution. This emotional arc, simply put, is based on a beginning, middle and end. This type of storytelling structure leads to an enhanced effect on your audience by building an emotional arc in your story.

7 types of storytelling

Although every story has its foundation in; man vs man, man vs nature, and man vs himself, there are seven basic plots structures—they are:

  • Rebirth; a story of renewal
  • Quest; the search for an item, place, or person
  • Journey and Return; ventures into the unknown
  • Rags to Riches; essentially the American Dream
  • Tragedy; downfall of a protagonist
  • Comedy; humorous or amusing
  • Overcoming the Monster; an underdog story

The storytelling mix

Storytelling in Marketing

Storytelling Marketing uses narrative to communicate the message. The aim is to make the viewer feel something—enough that it inspires them to take action. Storytelling in marketing helps consumers understand why they should care about something, and it works to humanize your brand, service, or product. This approach in storytelling can be told in video, pictures, in writing, and even verbally through word-of-mouth. Storytelling Marketing can be told across all channels from social media channels to billboards on the highway. Good storytelling can help cut-through in the marketplace creating advertising that resonates.

Tender Touch Barham's Ozark Beef, Video Production, Videography, Documentary
The story of Charlie Barham as he began to raise cattle from a young age to a seasoned farmer of pasture raised, sweet potato feed, organically grown prime beef.

Storytelling in Advertising

An engaging, entertaining or emotional storytelling campaign can help to move potential customers to buy into the brand rather than individual products, which is more beneficial in the long run. Using a storytelling in advertising method, brands can make sales without trying to sell anything. Results show that narrative transportation and narrative preference used in advertising through the storytelling method are positively associated with favorable responses toward advertising. Stories elicited a more favorable emotional response and have an effect on participants’ intention to share information about the brand, service, or product by word-of-mouth.

Video Production, Photography, Design Solutions, Twist Creative Studio, Commercial Footage
Video Production, Photography, Design Solutions, Twist Creative Studio, Commercial Footage

Storytelling in Public Relations

A good story is timely, impacts a large audience, contains compelling sound bites or quotes, and resonates with viewers or readers. Public relation’s core goal is to build mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and its core audiences. Effective storytelling adds value to this process by enabling organization to communicate in a language of which audience relates. Storytelling in Public relations is an important strategy as it allows organization to better connect with their audience and ultimately stimulate the audience’s feelings, ideas, and attitudes to align with the marketing goals of the organization.

Garrett State Bank 125th Anniversary Video Production; Kayla Konger
Garrett State Bank 125th Anniversary Video Production; Kayla Konger during a testimonial video for the Garrett State Bank 125th Celebration. Video is critical to SEO results; Testimonial Videos is one of many video types to improve rankings on SERP.

Storytelling in Brand Identity

Brand storytelling needs personality Storytelling in brand identity is not marketing materials, not ads, and not sales pitches. Storytelling in brand identity should be told with the brand persona and the personality as the main character. The strongest brands come to life at the intersection of story and design. The two exist symbiotically, design and story need each other to survive. Storytelling combined with design makes for clearer, more powerful stories. At its essence, a story isn’t really about your business or company. Your business or company is the construct, with the goal of storytelling to create a connection with your audience.

Storytelling; Bob from Bobs Mug Coffee
Storytelling; Bob from Bobs Mug Coffee

TO CONCLUDE…

In conclusion, in any video the most important communication is storytelling. Storytelling in design captures the audience’s imagination through conscious use of stories to add a rich emotional experience — building understanding, awareness, and empathy — is what puts people at the center of the message. The role for twist… being responsible for providing creative services for telling client’s stories, from initial creative concept to completion. That role takes exceptional listening, and we believe we are exceptional listeners. The client role, tell us all about you, we’re listening.