Storytelling - it's not all marketing jargon

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Don’t scoff! Yes, storytelling is an over-used, jargon marketing term. But, if you go back to basics, storytelling is about beginnings, middles and endings. It’s the pivotal element in your brand and in your marketing.

Crafting, sharing and telling stories about clients and their brands helps us achieve all we do as communicators.

Stories aren’t spin

One thing’s for sure: we’re not telling spin. We’re talking stories. The difference?

Storytelling is the contextualisation of a production, service or venue and its offering in a way that helps the audience appreciate how it is relevant or beneficial to them.

Use your story to answer your audience’s needs.

Stories capture the imagination

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Good storytelling captures the imagination through the characterisation of human traits and morals. It puts characters first, it delves behind the scenes, it’s comfortable with vulnerability, and it teases the curious to keep page turning.

Applying a storytelling concept to your PR strategy can similarly entice journalists and intrigue their readers.

Regress a moment to storytime as a child. Can you recall your favourite stories and your favourite authors? Consider the tricks they applied to keep you glued to the pages for another night. How many can you apply to your business?

Brand storytelling

This is where it all begins. Every brand has a brand story. It’s effectiveness at touching your audience essentially comes down to how you tell it and what you’re comfortable revealing.

The crux: the more ‘real’ you are, the more ‘readers’ you’ll appeal to.

It’s up to you how you tell it: visually, written, lyrically, humorously, or…

What’s in a name?

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More than you think. Your brand story goes beyond your logo design and brand guidelines on colour and tone of voice, but these should be a constant in your telling. That graphic above is how it all began graphically for us - and everyone commented on how cute the image was, but it was just an image, it didn’t capture anything else.

The reason we’re called Coconut is in part because my then 3-year-old son won one on the coconut shy at a village fete. In part because I had no idea what to do with it and it just sat there staring at me for a while. And in part because a little R&D informed us of the versatility and holistic usage of the coconut that connected perfectly with our ethos and the services Coconut PR provides.

You. Your people. Your voice.

Yes, you. Why did you create your business? Why are you so passionate (or opinionated) about your industry? What does your business stand for or believe in?

Who are your people? Not just the leadership team - that’s pure self-aggrandisement - but the people who make things happen across your entire business.

Your team are part of your brand storytelling

All this should feature in and will influence how you communicate and interact online. It’s all part of your story.

In everything you do

All of this will also, obviously or subliminally, influence your product innovations, menu adaptations, venue decor, event ideas, or your acquisition of other businesses that align with yours.

Obviously or subliminally, these factors reinforce your tale. And they give you plenty of different ways to tell it.

How well are you telling your story?

Quite often the success of a brand is proportional to its storytelling ability - not its budget. Your ability to tell your story or even draft a plan for it will vary.

Confidence will play a part - sometimes when you’re so close to your business you’re left wondering if anyone else will believe in it as deeply as you.

Personality will also play a part - because people buy people and photos of people far exceed photos of ‘stuff’ in terms of user engagement on social media.

How resolutely your story is embedded in your brand will play another part - if it’s there, you’ll fall back on it time and again as will your target media and audience.

Let someone else tell it for

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Confidence, expertise, time and contacts all influence the spread of your story and your decision to tell it yourself or to hand it over to someone else to tell it for you.

That’s where we come in. Whether you need help crafting or shaping your tale, or help in telling it, let’s chat.

How exactly we can help will come out in the wash of the conversation because at the root of our ethos is flexibility with a holistic perspective.

Talk to you soon.

One final thought…

Kate will talking more about this topic at Business in Oxford (BIO 2019) on Thursday 6 June - see you there?