16 May 2022

Storytelling: the power behind the PR

Everyone loves a story. Everyone has a story. Humans have been telling and enjoying stories and tales since the dawn of time, from primitive cave etchings, to fireside whispers of myths and fables right through to high-level campaign and advertising stories.

When we talk about storytelling for business, we’ve only to look at some of the biggest brands for how they’ve cultivated such cast-iron strategies to connect and market to their customers, showcasing quality public relations. They effectively tap into the emotions of their customers, keeping it human and creating compelling stories and messages that travel the globe, seemingly without effort. 

Apple, for instance, projects a powerful, minimalist image, with a brand loyalty like no other along with a rack of desirable products. Their co-founder, Steve Jobs, was an advocate of impactful storytelling and said:  

“The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values and agenda of an entire generation that is to come.”

World-renowned screenwriter and director, Robert McKee, said:

Cognitive psychologists describe how the human mind, in its attempt to understand and remember, assembles the bits and pieces of experience into a story, beginning with a personal desire, a life objective, and then portraying the struggle against the forces that block that desire. Stories are how we remember; we tend to forget lists and bullet points.”

If you’re a business or organisation and want to connect to your customers, effective storytelling with a unique perspective can help you to create trust and relay your brand in an authentic way. Clear, concise and captivating stories will perform better in customer communications than those that lack strategy or direction.

Here are three questions to ask yourself when looking at storytelling for your business and how it can impact your public relations.

  1. Is your story genuine and authentic? Storytelling contributes to a strong PR and marketing strategy, as long as it is a truthful account that your customer can relate to. People have had enough of cheap gimmicks and blatant sales pitches: they want fresh, honest and clever stories from brands they can trust, and in turn, you could gain a valued customer.
  2. Is it directed towards your niche audience? Remember – you’re not for everyone. And that’s a good thing! If you’ve correctly identified your target audience, your messaging should be precise and appealing to them. Seth Godin talks about the potency of your story, that fits perfectly with your core public: “Great stories are rarely aimed at everyone. Average people are good at ignoring you. Average people have too many different points of view about life and average people are by and large satisfied. If you need to water down your story to appeal to everyone, it will appeal to no one. The most effective stories match the world view of a tiny audience—and then that tiny audience spreads the story.”
  3. Is it relatable? Does your story and messaging relate to your ideal customer? How so? Keeping your messaging aligned with your customer and their connection to you is a key point for any public relations. Helping them to identify with your brand forges trust and authenticity, making them more likely to become a customer. 

Seth Godin’s quote on how customers make purchases is a good example of the psychology of sales, and making your brand and product relatable: 

“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.”

Now human attention spans are reported to be at an all-time low – research suggests that the human attention span loses concentration after just eight seconds – there’s never been a better time to review messaging and storytelling for your brand.

These are just a few ideas you could consider when crafting a brand story or message. As always, we’re here to help. If you’d like to find out how we can work together, please do drop us a message. Contact Michael Gregory on 0845 625 0820 or use this contact form here.

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