Telling more compelling stories
Many marketers approach the task of messaging as an act of mere communication, distilling features, benefits, and proof points into anatomically correct descriptions of their solution's purpose and value. But the real challenge in our info-glutted world is one of persuasion — the ability to convey a story that captures the heart as deftly as it comforts the analytical mind.
Choosing the right narrative
Through the ages, many types of stories have emerged to inform, entertain, and inspire. A host of semiotic structures have been explored in arts and literature, yet certain narratives are used more often in the corporate world to share knowledge, build culture, motivate teams, and drive change.
- Origins — Origin stories, like that of HP's garage, articulate the legacy and traditions associated with a person or organization. These heroic tales convey how past triumphs inform the present and build trust that tried-and-true values continue to drive current and future success.
- Adversities — In the dark forest of difficult times, stories can help calm fears and restore faith in an organization's ability to solve problems. Through honest disclosure of the challenge at hand and a clear plan of action, adversity stories can coalesce energy around resolution rather than rumination for successful turnarounds.
- Possibilities — From a political candidate's stump speech to a CEO's thought-leadership keynote, stories of possibility inspire and align people around a shared vision of the future. They can also make a new concept more understandable, such as illustrating the potential uses of an innovative technology in a hypothetical application.
- Outcomes — Results-focused stories illustrate the tangible effects created by a solution, process, or initiative. Whether in the form of a customer success story or an annual report, outcome stories demonstrate impact in a vivid, concrete fashion.