Breaking the Top 10 storytelling posts for 2018 into two parts, I published the first part last Monday.
Here’s the second part, reflecting the diverse dimensions to today’s communications industry.
More companies invest in global PR than ever before. Yet, the missteps from 1990s are still with us. My favorite is “Americanitis,” the belief that the rest of the world works like America.
In an age of transparency, it behooves PR consultancies to consider how their choice of clients impacts their own brands … and equally important, staff reaction. .While the poster child for picking the wrong boy/girl at the dance is Bell Pottinger — assignment led the firm to bankruptcy — most situations are not as black & white. Do you avoid a dairy farm in Wisconsin because cheese clogs arteries? What about a tobacco company or an app that promotes infidelity?
Adjectives and adverbs are not the enemy. Still, they can wreck a narrative that was on its way to delighting the crowd. One of my favorite go-to exercises for our storytelling workshop leans on the movie, “500 Days of Summer” and the narration that starts the story, “This is a story of boy meets girl.”
Phil Sayer worked for England’s railways as an announcer, not exactly fodder for a Hollywood movie. Yet, this obituary demonstrates the gift for narrative. The clever turn of a phrase, anecdotes and choice of words collectively produce a story that captivates without being showy:
- “When he announced that the 17.36 for Hampton Court, calling at Vauxhall, Clapham Junction, Earlsfield, Wimbledon, Raynes Park, New Malden, Berrylands, Surbiton, Thames Ditton and Hampton Court, was standing at Platform 6, you knew it could not possibly be anywhere else, or bound for any other place.”
Remember a movie called “Wall Street.” The main character is played by Michael Douglas, and he exclaims what became a famous line back then in describing the attitude of those in finance, “Greed is good.” If Hollywood were to create a movie called “PR Street” with Michael Douglas, he would declare “Chaos is good.”
What does 2019 hold in store?
While I never qualified for my soothsayer badge in Boy Scouts, I can say with a fair degree of certainty that mayhem will rule. More than the White House, it’s the acceleration of time, the never-ending invention of technology and a society that seems to running on one giant hamster wheel that frames the current picture.
Good for the communications industry.
Good for blogs on the communications industry.
Not so good for society.