Aligning PR with Storytelling for the “Happily Ever After”

I noted earlier in the month that we got the SlideShare religion, using the social media site to tell our story through an unconventional credentials deck.

After evangelizing SlideShare as an ideal platform for storytelling, it occurred to me that we should develop a deck on the power of storytelling in business.

So that’s what we’ve done.

Taking a mix of pop culture, levity, science, and our experiences nudging clients out of the corporate-speak box, we’ve created the following as a primer for storytelling in business:

I attended the Innovation Journalism (InJo) conference last week, which was titled “Storytelling in the Time of Creative Destruction.” Between the speakers, workshops and informal dialog in the corridors, I came away with the impression that there’s still a sizable gap between what journalists need and what corporate communicators provide.

Hopefully, this presentation can be a resource.

We’d love to hear your input, including the perspectives of any storytelling disciples if this post reaches beyond the communications community.

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9 comments

9 Comments so far

  1. [...] Aligning PR with Storytelling for the “Happily Ever After” [...]

  2. Karen Chace June 14th, 2010 3:44 pm

    Dear Lou,

    I am a professional storyteller, I also come from a business background. A few years ago I was hired to write a commissioned piece to celebrate the 75th anniversary of a company. I was told, alternately that it had to be light, funny, yet at the same time contain the names of specific people and important clients. It was to be the story of their lives and work.

    A number of people in the company wrote letters, which were detailed but on a very professional level; they lacked the personal component. Through interviews I was able to glean specific details of funny, touching, and difficult moments the people and the company had weathered through the years.

    The dinner celebration was hosted in a beautiful room overlooking Boston. When I was introduced it was evident that the attendees were greeting me with silent skepticism.

    You are correct in your presentation when you say what matters is “what was” and too many companies gloss over those fact and memories. What happened that night was magic. The room fell silent, the guests leaned forward, listening…not because of my skills but because it was their story, both the good and the bad, the triumphs and the challenges. It was exactly those experiences that bound them together, created the climate of ‘family’ that was so evident with everyone I spoke with during the interview process.

    Thank you for your insightful presentation, you have certainly hit the proverbial nail on the head. If you are interested you may read the published article I wrote about the experience on my website at http://www.storybug.net/publications.html

  3. Lou Hoffman June 14th, 2010 4:10 pm

    Karen,

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

    I’ve bookmarked your site as well as read your story behind the story called “Forging a New Frontier” at http://www.storybug.net/downloads/ForgingNewFrontier.pdf

    Now, that’s quite a tale.

    It’s cool that the company had the savvy to hire a professional storyteller to bring its story to life.

    Your use of anecdotes, particularly the one about the roof collapsing caught my attention. Seems like a perfect example of how a not-so-positive event can add texture without hurting the take away impression.

    I view oral storytelling as akin to standup comedy; i.e., It’s just you and your microphone … now entertain.

    What a gift.

  4. Jayme Soulati June 24th, 2010 8:16 pm

    I see the value of what you’re suggesting public relations should do. Where I foresee the obstacles are potentially with marketing/advertising suggesting the need for PR storytelling as encroachment.

    This is an interesting concept to me and can humanize and personify a boring corporate background.

    I’ll be checking out your previous posts for some actual tips on how you recommend we innovate to include this within strategy.

  5. Lou Hoffman June 25th, 2010 11:30 am

    That’s true but storytelling has a place across all communication disciplines.

    In fact, one could make a logical argument that advertising gets narrative while PR is coming up the curve.

    Thanks for your input and interest.

  6. Narrative Therapy « Our Blog September 5th, 2010 7:53 pm

    [...] Aligning PR with Storytelling for the “Happily Ever After” (ishmaelscorner.com) [...]

  7. Jules Damji June 9th, 2011 5:23 pm

    Storify is gaining traction in curation. It allows to conflate numerous social media feeds — facebook, digg, twitter, youtube, tumblr .etc. I believe a very compelling client’s story could be chronologically crafted to deliver a message.

    The presumption is that some content relevant to the story already exists, which is may be not the case with launching new products; however, as the product evolves over time, Storify could very well be the storyboard tool to narrate its evolution, on the website for the News tab.

    Cheers

    Jules

  8. Lou Hoffman June 10th, 2011 7:11 am

    Jules,

    Could be.

    Seeing more companies (not individuals) use Tumblr for communications would be a sign of such storytelling.

    Seems fair to say it’s early days when it comes to the tools for digital storytelling.

    Appreciate hearing your perspective.

  9. Storytelling as the New Black | Agency Blog September 19th, 2012 4:13 pm

    [...] Back in 2010 we pulled together our broad thinking on the topic in a Slideshare deck entitled “Aligning PR with Storytelling for the Happily Ever After”. [...]

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