Nobody was more surprised than we were by the headline “Why the future of storytelling will be democratized.” The Fast Company article by Joe Berkowitz suggests that effective storytelling hinges on expensive high-tech whizbangs, and the “democratization” comes from Kickstarters and similar grassroots campaigns vs. big-name corporate sponsorship.
Certainly, big-time brand and business storytelling does require the all-important executive buy-in. However, the art of storytelling is and has always been as democratic as it comes. The ancient oral tradition required only minds, hearts, and mouths. Everything that has emerged since then is set dressing, from movable type to TikTok.
We’re engaging in new ways. But engagement itself is nothing new.
“Democratizing” suggests that storytelling was, until now, an ivory-tower business. That small- and mid-sized businesses must gaze in awe upon the Nikes and Coca-Colas of the world, believing they can’t possibly produce anything that could measure up. That innovation is about gaming or beating the system.
We have a secret
Innovation is little more than a solution to a problem, and stories themselves were never the problem. Sometimes, what’s old is new again. The storytelling of today that feels so new and original actually has deep roots, when it comes to creation as well as delivery. Its DNA is open source.
Here’s what you need to know about the future of storytelling, story innovation, and brand stories in 2021.
No one is immune
And the world’s best marketers know that storytelling brings people together like nothing else can. Amazing stories can tug at our heartstrings, create shared experiences, and inspire us to act.
We think in stories, talk in stories, and make decisions based on narratives we absorb and create. No one has a monopoly on storytelling. It’s part of the fabric of our lives. Use it in whatever ways you have available, and you’ll see and feel its impact instantly.
It’s about the greater good
In a world reeling from social, political, and public health crises, brands face an urgent imperative: to be the change they wish to see (with apologies to Gandhi). Companies have embraced sustainable and social impact investments and programs, at least in part, to reflect the values of a diverse and changing world.
These actions can’t exist in a vacuum. Because so much consumer spending is values-driven, brands must educate internal and external audiences about their decision-making and how it extends naturally from their identity and values. Tell a story, and your impact spikes. No whizbangs necessary.
Never forget why – why you’re doing what you’re doing, and why you got started in the first place. Your origin story offers one way to convey your purpose and find comfort and resolve when times get tough.
Your purpose should drive everything you do. Your team should understand and share that purpose. So should your customers.
Your mission, vision, and values are expressions of your purpose. However, your purpose demands context. People need to see its relevance and resilience. As such, though it could be seen as an immutable principle, it lives in light and shadow and becomes richer as your brand and value proposition grow and mature.
Storytelling: simple, but not easy
It’s not rocket science. But it can propel your growing brand to new heights.
Stop buying in to “the future of storytelling” and start writing it. We can help. Contact Consummate Prose today to get started.