The Art Of Effective Storytelling: Five Reasons Why You Need To Tell A Good Story

“No, no! The adventures first…explanations take such a dreadful time.”- Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Effective storytelling is an art form. A wonderful story draws you in, makes you stop what you’re doing and listen eagerly to find out what unfolds next.

You could be drawn to the quirky, future-facing tales of a brand like Apple – who this week topped the list of Interbrand’s 100 Best Global Brands 2013 Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches, or prefer Coca-Cola’s cosy, family-centric narrative. However, telling a seemingly simple, but seriously engaging, story is harder than it looks.

In an age where time is precious and attention spans are short, today’s stories need to grab our attention in the form of a 30 second advertisement, a 140 character tweet or in just three seconds as we drive past a billboard or click on a website. It’s crucial that a company becomes an expert storyteller and fully engages with how its audience sees, hears and responds.

Companies telling their story successfully are using technology such as Twitter, Vine, Snapchat and Instagram to instantly connect with their users. Some brands can create such genuinely compelling stories that people can’t wait to share, comment or retweet them. These are the stories that drive the success of a company, inspire a community of loyal followers and sometimes simply make us gratefully pause and smile in a hectic world.

An example of innovative storytelling is evident in the recent, beautifully shot Airbnb advert. The company used Vine (a six second video tool) to create the ‘Hollywood & Vines’ story. They asked their users to submit their own scripted Vines via Twitter, and artfully edited them to create a story told from the point of view of a paper airplane.

The Airbnb advert works because it doesn’t scream about the company’s product. Instead, the video slowly takes you on a journey.

Five reasons why you need to be able to tell a great story:

1. Brilliant stories drive social media engagement. People always want to share relevant, interesting and funny information.

2. Good stories drive brand loyalty. At the heart of any business is the reason why the business started in the first place. If you can articulate this ‘why’ to your audience, you’ll encourage them to relate to your brand.

3. Innovative narratives will differentiate you from your competitors. If you have a compelling story to tell, customers will remember you in a crowded marketplace.

4. A well-told, consistent story will build a community of loyal customers and referrals. Think about the brands you follow – why do you find them engaging?

5. A good story will enable you to build a diverse product portfolio. If you are known for your values rather than just your products, your customers will trust that you can deliver the same service across multiple industries – look at Virgin and Apple for two excellent examples of this.

Are you ready for an adventure? Your audience is waiting…

So, what’s your story? Share it with us.