Why do your decks need pro storytelling?
All your presentations are telling a story, whether you planned it that way or not. The reality you need to wrap your little noggin around is that pro storytelling really isn’t an option anymore – it’s a necessity.
The Science of Storytelling
As Will Storr, author of The Science of Storytelling: Why Stories Make Us Human, and How to Tell Them Better said, “it’s story that makes us human”. That might initially feel like quite an outlandish assertion, especially to those of you unused to seeing the world through a storified lens.
But, for as long as humans have been mooching about the globe, gossip, myths, spoken histories, and fables have banded us together. It’s how we have always identified our common challenges, celebrated our connection with others, fostered collaborative thought and passed moral expectations down to the next generation.
Storytelling has always been an essential part of human communication, but in recent years it’s also become a popular buzzword in the creative industries. “Storytellers” have popped up on company rosters worldwide as businesses move away from rigid data-driven messaging and into the less tangible but undeniably powerful pull of storytelling.
In fact, pro storytelling is earmarked to be the “biggest business skill” of the next few years. Which, as an agency full of creative storytellers, we think is totally reasonable and pretty neat. But really, savvy marketers, copywriters and brand crafters have been tapping into the rich well of connection that storytelling provides for a long, long (long) time already. So what changed? Why is “storytelling” suddenly something that non-creatives understand the power of? Because the news is finally funnelling through to the rational thinkers: emotional relatability is the real key to rational victory.
Depth of connection directly correlates to business success
Stories increase the emotional connection between business and audience. If a brand narrative is tailored with this correlation front of mind, the power of resonant connection is creatively exploitable. But, to be as effective as possible, you need to tell a consistent story across every audience touch point, with total clarity on who your Hero is, what villain they’re fighting against, and how you’re ready to guide them to success. Whether it’s landing page copy or marketing campaigns, sales decks, or investor bids – every bit of messaging needs to speak in the same voice and hit the same emotional notes.
Because hard sells don’t work anymore, folks. In fact, studies show that 3 out of 4 people now actively avoid adverts. So you need to shift your focus towards growing genuine relationships with your audience. Honestly, there’s no better, easier or more efficient way to do that than through storytelling.
Storytelling drives memorability
As well as upping brand>audience resonance in the moment, pro storytelling is a handy little tool for making your messaging more memorable. Take Dove, for example. Dove has been using the same story across all their ads and brand messaging for years. This long-game strategy makes Dove a great example of how using stories consistently engages empathy, allows consumers to see themselves reflected in the brand and builds a bond between business and audience.
Microsoft’s Inclusion in Action campaign leveraged the same resonance but over a B2B campaign. They created six video stories celebrating six individual people’s experiences using Microsoft’s accessible tech to demonstrate how the company lives up to their values of inclusion and diversity.
The stories are unforgettably inspirational, demonstrate the brand’s admirable ethics and use narrative techniques to promote a positive sentiment.
The long and short of these examples is this: failing to tell your story means brand forgettability. Nailing your narrative means brand memorability. And it’s not just a vague idea of a brand your audience will remember, it’s the specifics too.
Stories are super-helpful for dull, data-driven presentations
Stories are easier to remember than data alone. In their exploration of memorability, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, Chip and Dan Heath conducted an experiment with a group of Stamford students, who were each asked to deliver a 60 second presentation around the subject of non-violent crime. All the students used an average of two and a half stats across their presentations, but just 1/10 used a story to convey their message.
After ten minutes, the students’ audience was asked to recall the details of the presentations. A mere 5% of the audience members could recount any individual statistics, but a whopping 63% of them remembered the stories they’d heard.
So as well as driving memorability for your brand and engagement with your audience, using pro storytelling can be a powerful way to convey complex information in an accessible way. It makes your data dumps more accessible, more memorable, and helps you to stand out from the crowd.
Stories make you stand out
Every modern brand will have heard the importance of having a solid and definable USP. And in today’s crowded marketplaces, being distinctive can genuinely be the difference between failure and success. But the total saturation of every conceivable market makes finding a truly unique selling point virtually impossible for a lot of brands. Which is where storytelling really comes into its own.
If you find a way to craft a memorable, recognisable and completely consistent brand story that’ll echo across every page, presentation and pitch, the story itself will become your USP – bypassing the need for you to engineer a weak unique selling point. Craft a narrative that reinforces your “why”, create an irresistibly strong sense of purpose and reinforce your unique identity. That’s the true importance of story.
Stories are only getting more important
Overall, the increased focus on pro storytelling in even the most uncreative industries reflects a growing understanding of the importance of emotional connection and authenticity in building relationships with audiences.
Which is how we can be pretty bloody confident that storytelling is going to continue being a major feature in business for years to come. Which is exactly why you need to be focussing on adding stories into all your presentations. And if you’re agreeing with that sentiment, but have no clue where to begin, don’t fret; we’re here to help. Book your Storytelling and Discovery Workshop now.
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