What are the biggest challenges for a Storyteller?
How many of us know what their mission in life is? Every single day I thank God for clarifying what my role on Earth is. Being a storyteller is breathing joy and plenitude, in the sense that covers every dimension that I’m apt in. From writing, interacting with people, and sharing our stories with open
hearts, magic moments arise and you understand why storytelling is so special.
Therefore, storytelling is becoming a “sexy” concept in the marketing and branding worlds. After all, every brand wants to find a way to establish an emotional, strong and long-lasting relationship with their consumers. Storytelling is an art with its method, and whether we’re applying it into a personal or corporate brand, there are 3 main challenges to bear in mind.
1) Know Your Audience
I make this point in every storytelling session I give. No matter how good a story is, it’s worth 0 if we don’t know who we’re telling it to. Therefore, whether we have a personal project, a job interview or a presentation for a live audience we have to answer questions like “what interests and motivates our target audience? What kind of stories do they want to hear? What reaction does the story aim to elicit?” Sometimes these answers are not as readily available as we would like them to be and it’s up to us to find them. The most direct is to make assumptions based on the reality we know, creating a ‘persona’ that represents the characteristics of the target audience.
2) Align the Message
This is a challenge for personal and corporate brands across the board. In personal brands aligning the message requires a huge effort in terms of introspection and self-knowledge because it’s the only way we can move forward, feeling deep inside “this is who I am; this is my brand; these are my brand’s added values.” It is uncomfortable because we have to rummage through what’s going on inside so as to position ourselves clearly in the marketplace. At the end of the day, the story of our brand will always be the story of our lives.
For corporate brands, the issue at hand is “how to create a story that represents the values, personality and goals of this product or service? How do you create a story that underscores the value proposition in the minds of the consumers?” A useful exercise to carry out is to understand the story of the company’s founder. That’s where you’ll find a solid basis for why the company was created. Another example is to talk to the employees who have been working there the longest because they embody the culture of the company like nobody else! And they have so many stories to tell…
Moreover, the pandemic period forced every brand to be facilitators, helpers, supporters of their stakeholders, otherwise their products and services would have become obsolete. In other words, brands had to stand up and reaffirm their mission and values through effective concrete actions in people’s lives. In this regard, stories are based upon actions which mean much more than words.
Check this example from Bologna FC. In the time when stadiums were empty, the city’s football team had a gesture of compassion towards the fans who were feeling alone…
3) Simplify the Narrative
I usually say that storytelling is the Holy Grail of emotional communication, as it is the tool that transforms the most boring information into something that can impact people’s lives. Storytellers have a number of magic ingredients at their disposal to make a human-based recipe: characters, conflict, dilemmas, unpredictability, suspense, a moral to the story, etc. As it’s easy to get lost in the details, the challenge is to select what is most relevant to keep the narrative simple, powerful and effective. In concrete terms, you may write a first draft and then say it out loud to a friend or peer so that you get instant feedback on what to improve on.
In short, the storyteller is a messenger; he/she is a multifaceted being with a bit of each magic powders:
Jack Zipes, a German literary scholar, one day said that “the role of the storyteller is to awaken the storyteller in others.” Guess what: that’s what I’m here for!
Contact me, and together we’ll turn your brand story memorable to your audience.