The Power of Storytelling – For Your Brand and Culture!

Great content at yesterday’s Washington Women in PR Brown Bag lunch program on storytelling. Whether developing a brand or building or in many cases re-building a culture storytelling plans an integral role. A few “take aways” I got from the session were:

–                     Attention! Get listeners attention with a question or challenge. We started with “which character trait are you today” and then a list of 12 traits was presented. This saves the audience from wondering where to begin! The list included traits such as: every person, lover, jester, caregiver, hero, revolutionary, magician, sage, ruler, creator or innocent. I particularly liked the fact that the question was targeted for “today” so that it is not your entire personality! This idea comes from Cindy Atlee of storybranding.com

–                     Three main elements to a good story are simple: challenge, struggle and resolution.  Everyone can relate to this! Adopt a storytelling mind set!

–                     “Start with the Why” – this comes from a TED video – then proceed with the what and the how.

–                     Mood based questions and creation of a mood map – what do you do when you feel happy? Where do you go on a rainy week day when you want to be alone and read a book? All questions that can help marketers determine potential customers like and dislikes!

–                     The Power of One – the power of one person’s story versus the story of many. It is much easier to embed the feelings of one person and create a powerful story that gets the audience’s attention. TV broadcasters use this tool very successfully!

–                     Start at the End! This helps the audience know how they should feel at the end and can then concentrate on the how, when, where and who.

–                     Create a messaging model: 1. Connection 2. Motivation (those two invite the audience into the story) 3. Inform 4. Promote. All too often we pr people focus on the “inform and promote” aspects and neglect the connect and motivate. Excellent advice here!

–                     Lastly a few simple steps to developing successful stories:

  • Keep stories heartfelt and true
  • Keep asking why!
  • Incentivize people to tell their stories (it also helps create relevancy for people in an organization)
  • Remember the power of the unexpected!

Kudos to those of WWPR who develop the ideas and content for these programs as well as get the panelists, speakers and moderators. They do a great job!

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