A Hopi Native American proverb states, “Those who tell the stories rule the world”.
The importance of communication was realised by our ancestors thousands of years ago. After all, how does one inform the community where the food is, what predators to watch out, what dangers lurk in the unknown?
Communication played a vital role in our evolution as a species. As we moved on from living in small groups in the forest to building megacities, states and nations, the one thing managed to capture our fancy was communication in the form of stories. From children’s tales to brand building, stories have always succeeded in engaging the audience.
But why are we inherently drawn towards stories? It’s more of biology rather than a fantastical concept. The human brain can remember facts, temporarily. Numbers, random series of letters and facts can be memorised and retained for some time. However, weave a narrative around disconnected, individual facts or data points, chances are you will remember them for a long time.
Brands just don’t want you to remember facts and events. They want to create relatable experiences which will strike a chord with millions of people simultaneously.
When the challenge is to capture, sustain and direct consumer attention, stories work best. Especially when you have multiple channels and platforms, the most engaging method is to tell a story. What can public relations professionals learn from story-telling?
Let’s start at the beginning – The Plot!
When you want to breathe life into a brand’s message, you will need a create a compelling setting.
Every organisation has gone through the stages of inception, recognition and expansion. The inevitable steps of overcoming obstacles, breaking barriers and achieving success resonate with the struggles of everyone.
Most brands understand the value of experiences – good or bad and wish to offer a glimpse of their journey. Audiences need to be made aware that the same drive which pushes individuals towards excellence also steers brands towards success. And nothing stimulates people’s imagination better than stories.
The story behind the meteoric rise of many iconic brands remains similar – ordinary individuals with the right resources, come together to do extraordinary work. Like in every story, the reader’s attention is riveted to the actions of the protagonist. As readers navigate the plot’s bylanes, they form an unforgettable bond with characters.
For PR, the ability of audiences to form an emotional connection with characters is great news. Audiences want constant updates of the daily activities of iconic figures and brands. On the same lines, people draw inspiration from the lives of their idols and an effective PR strategy can create the right impact. When you get the character’s attributes and brand voice aligned, it has the desired effect. When you personify a message, it reaches far and wide, receiving more empathy from audiences.
The Central Idea!
Whether it’s e-commerce, social media platforms or cryptocurrency, all success stories have a central idea. What needs to be presented to the audience is how the central idea revolutionised the way we live, communicate and think.
In story-telling, the central idea can give rise to divergent branches of smaller concepts that contribute to the growing narrative. PR strategies can be designed keeping this in mind. For example, social media platforms were initially seen as digital hubs for social interactions. Later, these platforms became a goldmine for information, advertising and e-retail.
On an average, the world consumes millions of hours of content, every day. The only way to stand out from the background noise is to draw in the consumer and keep them enthralled. In an age where brands need to capture consumer’s fleeting attention, it pays to blend the brand’s voice and message into a story.
The views expressed here are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of Reputation Today.