At the 2016 BAFTA Awards, Actor Mark Rylance took the award for “Best Leading Actor” for his role in the popular BBC Drama, Wolf Hall. During his acceptance speech, Mark announced to the audience,
“Woe to any government, any corporation, who tries to get between the British people and their love of a good joke, a true story, a good song, a fact, a fiction, good sports commentating, newscasters who can hold themselves together as they tell stories about tragedies”
He went onto proudly state
“We are a nation of storytellers and we’re admired around the world for that, long may it live!”
What does it take to tell a story?
Storytelling of course is an ancient art, it takes great observation, a mix of vulnerability, good comedic timing and the ability to connect with your audience.
Why should brands be telling stories?
Good stories help people to change the way they feel, react, think and behave. Unlike facts, graphs and statistics, stories compel people to reminisce, to connect and more importantly to act/ buy. A simple message and narrative can have the viewer reaching for the telephone to speak to their family, friends and loved ones.
Investing in smart storytelling based content makes the difference between a brand butting into your day with push messages and notifications, to making you stop and think about what’s important to you, who you want to be and what you could do to change the world, sounds dramatic, but try watching the GoPro Firefighter saves kitten video without whimpering at your desk.
The other beneficial factor in brand marketing is recall and retention; with a flood of information open to them at all times, modern minds are not likely to retain facts and figures for long. Put me in a presentation with 20 slides of stats and I’ll likely drift off. Give me a character, a plot and a few twists and I’m hooked. Stories enable brands to stand out from the crowd, the product can become more than just a pair of running shoes, a face cream, or a notebook. They act as the tools we need to become who we want to be.
Of course, this isn’t new information for major brands, musicians and the entertainment industry. Your brands story might not be obvious at first, but it’s always worth exploring. One recent example of this is Alzheimer Research UK’s new mobile game ‘Sea Hero Quest’. Players follow a young sailor’s quest to revisit some of his father’s memories, and battle various sea creatures.
The game enables researchers to investigate how people explore and navigate 3D areas. Understanding how people navigate this environment is important because the skill is often one of the first lost by people who have dementia.
The video ad for the mobile game caught my attention for numerous reasons, the beautiful designs, the relationship between the father and son, the music (Patrick Watson, my favourite musician), but more importantly, the journey I went on and emotional impact it had on me.
“We have never seen anything undertaken in dementia research at this scale before,” said Hilary Evans, chief executive at Alzheimer’s Research UK, one of the organisations involved. The game is set to generate an unprecedented amount of data that previously would have taken years.
As a brand, how can you tell a good story?
- Be thoughtful/considerate
- The beauty is in the detail
- Create believable characters (you probably know some)
- Be honest
- Don’t fake it
Want some inspiration?
Want inspiration for your stories? Here are some of my favourite podcasts/ websites and live storytelling events.
- Everything is Stories
The website acts a sign post for long haired freaky people – “NEEDED tales from the underground, the underdog, the outlaw, and the outcast. Genuine characters of all kinds welcome”
- The Moth – A live story telling event. If you’re feeling brave enough you can get up and participate
- Community for storytellers
- The best personal story I’ve listened to recently? – Tom Hanks – Desert Island Discs