Five Compelling Elements of a Good Story?
Every time I hear people say they have a story, it excites me to listen to their stories. I believe stories are believable experiences that belong in a precious corner somewhere in a person’s heart. Trust me.
I proudly belong to the class of people who believe that even brands have stories to tell. They own a story that their customers and maybe the world need to know. Read about top brands like Virgin, The Body Shop, Actimel, Apple, Crocs, Bell and Ross, etc.
I’m currently reading “Cool Brands,” a guru loaded book given to me by my friend. This book is life, it’s reigniting my spark again in the brand space.
This post is about storytelling. So, I refuse to digress.
Everyone uses the word “storytelling.” In fact, there are books on the topic and writers are cashing out (you know?). Some individuals even call themselves “storytellers.” Some years ago, I did a course in Oral Literature where I learned about storytelling. In time past, the traditional believers and village dwellers believed in the power of storytelling, they still do. It has always been the best route to pass on to different generations the power and understanding of culture and beliefs.
Well, let’s dive in to the main gist of this post.
In this post, you’ll learn about the concept of storytelling and understand the main ingredients of a good story as it relates with brands.
What is storytelling?
Storytelling is THE way to get a message across. Like life, storytelling can be understood from different perspectives and sometimes, hard to pin down a definition for it.
However, Berice Dudley defines storytelling as “the art in which a teller conveys a message, truths, information, knowledge, or wisdom to an audience – often subliminally – in an entertaining way, using whatever skills, (musical, artistic, creative) or props he chooses, to enhance the audience’s enjoyment, retention and understanding of the message conveyed. Stories are sometimes told purely for joy and delight.”
Despite the different definitions from others, I really love the simplicity of Dudley’s definition. To tell a story is to truly convey a message to an audience using skills and making sure that the message passed across is understood.
One of the things I’ve noticed is that strong brands have a good story. These are the brands that’ll survive despite the severe economic situation. Do quick thinking, have you realized that when products and services are alike, the story behind the brand differentiates it from others?
My favorite brands are those with cool stories that represent what they stand for, what they believe in, and what they do for the people. Today, more brands are doing a wonderful job in this aspect. They are creating stories around their brand values, experiences, employees, etc. There’s a high chance that people will connect with these brands because of their stories.
Elements of a good story:
Every brand has a story to tell. Sometimes, they’re obvious, sometimes you have to look harder to find it. It is these stories that make your company different from any other.
A good story contain certain elements that make the story cool and long lasting. For every cool brand story, there has to be a “wow factor” stickiness, authenticity and relevance for the target group.
These are the major elements of a good story:
1. Entertaining. The key is to keep your audience engaged and entertained while they get informed. Stories don’t have to be boring before they’re understood.
2. Educational. The aim is to spark curiosity and add knowledge to the reader or audience.
3. Relatable. A good story should be universal and easily relatable with the audience.
4. Organized. Imagine a disorganized story, it sucks. Good stories follow a structure that helps convey the core message and helps readers absorb it.
5. Memorable. Good stories in whatever form they’re told should stick to the mind of its audience.
Truth is, character, conflict, setting, resolution and plot make up good elements of a story but that isn’t what this post is about.
Like art, storytelling requires creativity, vision, and skill. It also requires practice. It is remarkable to see how brands can come alive through story telling. It’s a better way to portray who a brand is trying to be, and when it’s told in the right light, it becomes a story every one attaches with the brand.