From Storytelling to Story Doing: Human-First Communications


In today’s oversaturated digital world, consumers are increasingly tuning out traditional advertising. This trend has led to a significant shift in the PR industry, with a growing emphasis on Human-First Communication. This transcends mere ‘storytelling’ and embraces a more action-oriented approach known as ‘story doing’. Brands are now prioritising authenticity, simplicity, respect, and inclusivity in their narratives to forge deeper connections with their target audiences. Failing to embrace this shift can result in significant losses due to consumer apathy. By fostering genuine communication, brands can build loyalty even in a crowded digital landscape.

Empowering Audiences through Participation:

The digital era has empowered audiences like never before. Brands are leveraging social media platforms to proactively engage with their target audience, fostering interactive two-way conversations that strengthen connections. This is particularly important for Gen Z which values authenticity. Per a 2022 study, 80% of Indian Gen Z respondents consider authenticity to be a key factor in their brand choices. By fostering genuine interactions and transparency, brands can build trust and loyalty with this influential demographic.

Brands are now placing significant emphasis on initiatives like Social Media Customer Care, taking prompt action to address customer grievances and ensure satisfaction in real-time. Furthermore, they are increasingly favoring everyday storytellers and micro-influencers over celebrities. This amplifies diverse voices and fosters a sense of familiarity and authenticity with the target audience. Live sessions and social polls further facilitate two-way dialogues, valuing audience input for product development and fostering a sense of belonging. These inclusive approaches transform audiences from passive receivers of information into active brand advocates.

A prime example is PVR Inox’s famous #PVRHeardYou campaign on X (formerly Twitter). The brand responded proactively to customer feedback on high food and beverage prices in theaters. By directly addressing concerns and offering tailored solutions like food combo offers, PVR regained trust and fostered a sense of community empowerment among audiences.

Celebrating Diversity and Inclusivity:

Gone are the days of stereotypical portrayals in marketing. Brands are taking significant strides towards diversity and inclusion, featuring a broader range of individuals in their messaging. They are also mindful of the language they use, ensuring it’s respectful and culturally sensitive. Campaigns are now tailored to connect with diverse audiences, showing an appreciation for cultural nuances. Additionally, some brands are championing social impact initiatives, advocating for underrepresented communities. By prioritising accessibility in their designs, they are fostering inclusivity and acceptance among all audiences.

Mattel’s commitment to inclusivity led to the launch of Barbies in 22 ethnicities, 35 skin tones, 97 hairstyles, and nine body types, including the introduction of a Down syndrome Barbie. This move challenged traditional beauty standards and empowered individuals to embrace their uniqueness. The campaign garnered widespread applause and resonated with audiences on a global scale.

Building Genuine Connections for the Community:

PR campaigns have the power to be a catalyst for social change. By raising awareness, shifting public opinion, mobilising resources, and promoting behavior change, PR can go beyond just promoting products or gaining brand visibility. Forward-thinking PR professionals are tapping into societal issues that resonate with their audience, creating a deeper, more authentic bond.

Many brands are embracing a purpose-driven approach, aligning their PR endeavors with broader social causes such as environmental awareness, sustainability, and community empowerment. By presenting compelling narratives and framing issues effectively, PR can attract volunteers, donations, and sponsorships, amplifying the efforts of non-profit organisations and advocacy groups. Additionally, PR can rally support for critical causes and pressure policymakers and corporations to act. Finally, by encouraging positive changes in individual behavior, PR campaigns play a pivotal role in fostering a more socially conscious and engaged society.

Tata Trusts’ “Kaise Ka Cancer” initiative is a powerful example. The campaign encourages women to participate in open discussions on early breast cancer detection and self-breast examinations, fostering awareness and a sense of community support.


The shift from “storytelling” to “story-doing” in human first communications signifies a profound transformation in the PR industry. By empowering audiences, celebrating diversity, building genuine connections, and driving positive social and environmental change, brands are redefining their role beyond mere profit-making. Through authentic communication and purpose-driven initiatives, brands are fostering deep connections, driving meaningful impact, and ultimately, shaping a more inclusive, empathetic, and socially conscious world. As the PR landscape continues to evolve, human first communication will remain at the forefront, shaping a future where brands and consumers connect on a deeper, more meaningful level.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Shashikant Someshwar
Shashikant is the Managing Director of The Weber Shandwick Collective, India. A visionary in the industry, he drives a 'consumer first' approach, blending PR roots with integrated communication skills. Under his guidance, TWSC excels in earned, social, owned, and paid media to captivate audiences worldwide. From consulting CXO’s of global companies on corporate image to designing successful brand campaigns and building an army of communication professionals, Shashi has been one of the foundation pillars of the communication landscape that exists in India today. In his current role at TWSC, he is helming a movement in new-age storytelling that is focused on a ‘human first’ approach.

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