Storytelling in Commercial Creativity

These last weeks I have been attending an enlightening course held by the communication company D&AD about Brand Storytelling. Otherwise, how to best communicate to ‘sell’ a product, an idea, a mission or a project.

What was particularly pointed out by the professionals sharing their experiences, was that content is the most important item of a communication. You most know what you want to share with others, what  messages you want to address to your audience. If you can’t say it in one sentence, maybe it’s still not all clear.

Second, is never to forget who you are addressing to. Knowing who your audience (or target) is would inevitably influence your language and the channels through which you would choose to communicate.

Because any effective communication is based essentially on connection,  what you want to communicate, to whom and how are essential questions you have to ask yourself before starting your campaign.

Why storytelling, you would ask. Because storytelling has always been the most powerful way to engage audiences and, consequently, to sell something.

As Andy Orrick said, “The storyteller plays with the audience’s emotions, through the characters’ emotions.” As audience, we would tend to get involved in stories, in characters: is what we do all the time – at the movies, reading a nice book, even eavesdropping some strangers chatting on the bus. We love stories, we need stories, we live for stories.

According to a study conducted by Stanford University, stories are 22 times more memorable than other forms of communication, because of their inner engaging power. So Storytelling is and will always be the best way to communicate a message that would stick in our audience’s heart and, consequently, mind.

I am not saying anything new. Storytelling is being used in commercial creativity for decades. I am sure that you could name at least one commercial or ad you remember even if years had passed. I am also sure that you remember it because the story channelling the message the brand wanted engaged you in some ways. Why else would you think branded web series are so popular nowadays?

So, any fact, message, idea you want to incept in your audience minds – may they be future investors, employers, clients or students – try to turn them into stories. 

To engage your audience your stories must reflect the knowledge and respect you have of them and give them values, enrich them. Don’t be afraid to use archetypes nor – as Bobette Buster says “To show your weak spots and feel vulnerable”. Make it personal!

Stories are universal, the ways they are told are not. Remember to adapt your language to your audience: teens could be reached and touched by media and messages that adults or children may not even know. And, for safety, keep it short. Our brain ability to stay focused is less and less. (Maybe you didn’t even got through the first sentences of this post. If you made it, congrats! )

If you are interested in this subject, here is the link to the online course on FutureLearn website. 

 

 

 

 

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