Five tips for gripping storytelling

Who doesn’t know the fairy tales of Little Red Riding Hood or Hansel and Gretel? Stories captivate us from an early age, touch us emotionally and convey important messages. Companies can use our fascination with stories to attract the attention of their stakeholders with pro­fessional storytelling.

As children, we hang on our parents’ every word as they tell us a fairy tale. We shudder when the wolf eats the grand­mother and Little Red Riding Hood or when Hansel and Gretel fall into captivity of a man-eating witch. And we’re infinitely happy when it turns out they haven’t died after all. Stories captivate us, arouse our emotions and make us think. They also convey important messages. Even as adults, we like to be enter­tained by good stories. Movies like “Star Wars” or most recently “Barbie” reach an audience of millions. 

More attention and retention

Stories don’t just work in literature and film. Companies can use professional storytelling to make themselves heard by their target groups. In a world that never sleeps and where news is diss­eminated incessantly, attention has become an important commodity. With exciting or humorous stories, companies can convey important messages and get people excited about their organi­sation and its offerings without being pushy. They also stay longer in the memory of their audience. Studies show that our brain processes stories better than dry facts and that we absorb information more readily if it touches our heart rather than merely appealing to our intellect. But what makes a story good? Professional storytelling has various character­istics:

1. Authentic content, clear objectives and audience orientation

The story’s cool, but it doesn’t fit the company? Or the readers aren’t interested and don’t under­stand the message? Then the story has missed its target. Good stories reflect the values and personality of a company, have the target audience in mind and convey an under­standable message. If you want to tell relevant stories, you have to know your audience and its needs. The intention of the narrative must also be clear. Is it to inform, entertain or inspire action?

2. Structure and suspense

Good stories have a clear structure and create an arc of suspense. Often, their structure, with an introduction, main problem, climax and resolution, resembles a hero’s journey where the main character identifies a problem, overcomes various challenges and finally finds a convincing solution. 

3. The question of why

Much is written about the questions of how and what: What do companies produce and how do they do it? But as the British­-American author and management consultant Simon O. Sinek explains in the “Golden Circle”, the question of why is much more exciting and emotionally charged. Those who ask why focus on vision, values and motivation.

4. Emotions

Emotional stories are remem­bered longer and enable the audience to identify with people, messages, companies or products. So it’s important to consider what emotions you want to arouse with a story: joy, surprise, compassion or hope? 

5. Call to action

Don’t leave your readers out in the cold at the end of a post, but show them what they can do next: call a contact, share a link, leave a review, sign up for the newsletter or purchase a product. If you do this, your communi­cations will achieve their goals and contribute to the success of the business.

Storytelling is an important corporate communications tool that can inspire your target groups and firmly anchor your messages. Make sure that your stories match your communications strategy. This includes ensuring that the message, tone, form and design are coordinated with the rest of your communications. A content strategy helps you plan the creation, publication and management of your content and ensure that your stories address the needs of your target audiences while supporting your organisation’s business objectives. 

“Now all their cares were at an end ...” Thus ends the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel. Storytelling may not put an end to all communication challenges, but it is a key component of professional corporate communications. We’ll be happy to help you conceive, plan and tell good stories so that your company is heard and remembered.

We guide you from analysis to strategy, identifying topics and editorial support all the way to preparing copy