Anecdotes and stories always sell, – who does not know this truth? It keeps attention, it makes people sympathetic and awakens empathy, so you engage with the audience and, if the story built cleverly, reach your aim and persuade people to follow the role model from your store and apply some ideas in their own life. The story about the men who get the job of his dream because he was the only one with knowledge of foreign language motivates last-year students to attend language school. The case with the girl who conquers the beloved guy, cooking for him the meat with new sauce, encourage hundreds to buy the sauce. The examples can be endless. Some critics may say, that the plots of many promotional campaigns are so basic and boring that can’t play the trick with anyone. Nut the recent research, published in the Business Insider, shows that the magic of the storytelling is not only about originality and interest rates. Stories help to make the message memorable (story-based messages are 21% more memorable due to Quantified Communications, Carmine Gallo, 2017). Actually, the study shows, that the classic arcs – setting, conflict, revolvement and new setting for characters – make stories more effective (Carmine Gallo, 2017). Only listening to stories the audience mirrors the actions of the performer and really engages, while non-narrative messages (reports, statistics, descriptions) are untouching. Seems, that storytelling applies to the wisdom behind the conscious (Carmine Gallo, 2017; Rodger Duncan, 2014). Storytelling expert Geoffrey Berwind explains, that possibly the stories have such a great impact on our attention because it’s one of the most basic ways of receiving information: it was common before the writing was invented and we explore the world as children via stories, told by parents and teachers (Rodger Duncan, 2014).
“When leaders use storytelling I believe they bring their audiences back to a natural state of primal listening. So, credibility isn’t really an issue. The use of stories, properly conveyed, is actually how we prefer to receive communications”, – Geoffrey Berwind (Rodger Duncan, 2014).
While for me this data and research bring the authoritative provident of the effectiveness of storytelling, some PR experts disagree with the axiom. So, Lou Hoffman claims ‘storytelling’ to be a buzzword, which used by everyone without no real understanding. His idea is that storytelling can be inappropriate in many cases so building arcs are just waste of time and money, which can better be invested in visuals (David Blecken, 2015). Due to Hoffman, the aesthetics are more important in many cases and the attention span decrease leads to the situation when PR persons have no time for telling the story, they just need to deliver the message. The same problem was faced by experts, working with digital ways of communication: to appreciate the effort, people need to spend some time in their VR app or 360-degree video, while currently they pay less than 2 seconds to message (Chris Daniels, 2016). But does it mean, that PR needs to refuse the storytelling? Definitely, no.
“It’s not about the quantity of digital channels. It’s not about digital at all. It always was and will be about the story”, states David Krejci from Weber Shandwick PR agency (2012).
The point is, that new channels challenge the way, how we tell the stories. The single gif-picture should contain all that 10 years ago would be presented in a few minutes long video. But not beautiful design or nice description is that stays in memory. That thing is the story: it captures people’s attention, stays in the memory and is shared both by word-of-mouth and with social media (Barbara Bates, 2014). Modern culture moves from text to image, besides facts people now search for emotions (Kevin Allen, 2016), and PR industry needs to find the ways to tell the stories visually.
Barbara Bates (2014). The Role of Storytelling in a Digital Age. PR News. Available from http://www.prnewsonline.com/the-role-of-storytelling-in-a-digital-age-by-barbara-bates/
Carmine Gallo (2017). An analysis of 700 presentations revealed that adopting one speaking skill can make you more persuasive. The Business Insider. Available from http://www.businessinsider.com/an-analysis-of-700-presentations-revealed-that-adopting-one-speaking-skill-can-make-you-more-persuasive-2017-3?IR=T&r=US.
Chris Daniels (2016). Lesson from #MWC16: Time for brands to get on board with VR. PR Week. Available from http://www.prweek.com/article/1385354/lesson-mwc16-time-brands-board-vr#GxPfFKhiI3FDsiPp.99
Daniel Krejci (2012). Digital storytelling will never work without a terrific story. PR Week. Available from http://www.prweek.com/article/1279440/digital-storytelling-will-work-without-terrific-story#EgvohoDme4JK3Kdo.99
David Blecken (2015) People have misunderstood the meaning of ‘storytelling’: Lou Hoffman. PR Week. Available from http://www.prweek.com/article/1332948/people-misunderstood-meaning-storytelling-lou-hoffman#loaCJi4HSI5iwRwY.99
Kevin Allen (2016). 5 ways to translate your storytelling to PR. Infographics by Ketchum PR. PR Daily. Available from https://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/5_ways_to_translate_your_storytelling_to_PR_20379.aspx.
Rodger Dean Duncan (2014). Tap the Power of Storytelling. Forbes.com. Available from https://www.forbes.com/sites/rodgerdeanduncan/2014/01/04/tap-the-power-of-storytelling/#4916b0e3614a.