Storytelling: what it is and how to apply it in your agency’s day-to-day

Storytelling: what it is and how to apply it in your agency’s day-to-day post thumbnail image

Storytelling is the ability to convey content through an elaborate plot and engaging narrative, using words and audiovisual resources; find out how your agency can take advantage of it!

Storytelling is the ability to tell stories using elaborate plot, engaging narrative, and audiovisual resources. The technique, whose character is persuasive, helps to promote your business and sell your services indirectly. It can be applied in content production, sales and consulting. 

Once upon a time, there was an agency that managed to simplify all its work with storytelling actions. Utopia? Of course not! From cavemen, who recounted the exploits (or disasters!) of their hunts around the campfire, to Friday happy hour,  humanity loves a good story .

You sure have a great story to tell. Where did the idea for your name come from, or what is the origin of your surname? What places have you lived? In our lives, we write our own cases .

And why not tell stories to make things clearer in business and content production as well? Just because you are an expert in a subject and have been dealing with it for years, doesn’t mean that your leads, prospects and customers can retain and understand that information. Creating a narrative to talk to them can be much more enlightening with copywriting.

Storytelling has facilitated the way we’ve communicated for years, and we’re sure it can do a lot for you too. So, pay attention to the next lines and prepare your pen to write down the hacks we are going to share.

what is storytelling

Storytelling is the ability to tell stories using audiovisual resources in addition to words. The technique helps to promote your business and sell your services indirectly, with a persuasive character. Storytelling is often used in TV, marketing and advertising.

To make the concept clearer, let’s break it down into two parts, using an example: the solar system.

Let’s say we want to tell stories about the sun.

  1. STORY : the sun itself.
  2. TELLING : are the ways we will talk about it. We have several versions to tell what the sun looks like.

Mercury, for its proximity, would say that the sun is too hot! Infernal heat.

Earth would call him Astro Rei. There is a greater balance because of the seasons.

Neptune would complain: “the Sun is too far away. It’s too cold here!”

See how we have different versions of the same story? This means that storytelling can be customized according to the audience .

Understanding the triad that make up Storytelling

The Storytelling support tripod is based on 3 elements, which must always be connected:

  1. Narrative Techniques : at this stage, the conceptual paths that will sustain the content are defined;
  2. Narrative Content: the most known and explored part of Storytelling, it is what gives life to the technique;
  3. Fluidity: For a story to be consistent, it needs to be continuous. It does not seek to be interruptive, but to create experiences and moments that bring its audiences together.

The thousand and one nights… of stories!

Does anyone remember Scheherazade from One Thousand and One Nights ? This ancient story from the Middle East tells us that a king, Xariar, is betrayed. That’s why Xariar marries a new woman daily and has her killed after the wedding night, for fear of a new betrayal. Until Scheherazade’s turn to marry the king arrives. The difference is that she applied storytelling .

Scheherazade tells stories that catch the king’s attention with the following formula: at dawn she would interrupt the story to continue the following night. In this way, Xariar keeps putting off the girl’s death, trapped by the stories, until he gives up on executing her. 

This same idea of ​​using Storytelling can be used with examples that answer possible gaps, such as:

  • How can I teach my children not to accept gifts from strangers? Read “Little Red Riding Hood” to them;
  • And when I want to reinforce that telling the truth is always good? Tell the story of “Pinocchio”;
  • How to avoid judgments? Present “Beauty and the Beast”… And so on.

And so? How could storytelling help in your day-to-day business? First of all, it is important to remember that Storytelling is not just about creating a character and creating a story, often without goals. Storytelling has to have a context and a purpose.

The 4 Ways to Start a Good Storytelling in Business

Who never got stuck when starting a campaign or put off starting that project , which seemed to be a lot of work?

To avoid moments when you “spend” your ideas, (in order to focus your creativity on the right insight), we share the 4 main ways to structure your stories. They are very actionable models that provide a good starting point for any brainstorming session. Are they:

Product Placement

Include in the narratives stories that are related to the use of your product or the purpose of the brand.

Narratology

Develop a story to explain why the company (or product) is the solution or a market reference.

Brand Personality

Use archetypes (mental models) that position your brand in the minds of your customers.

Pop Culture

Absorb pop culture references to work and relate them to your product or company.

A very cool example was an action taken at an agency, when it received the following briefing : to engage the audience from 13 to 18 years old, from content that had a connection with the title of the film (Seven Wishes) and that generated “buzz” in the media.

Analyzing the best structure to focus brainstorming, it was decided that the most assertive would be to bring some element of pop culture to the target audience to trigger specific triggers. The result you can see below:

Orbital Contents

There is also another very important technique to channel creativity and facilitate the development of actions outside the curve, which is the use of orbital layers (relax, we are not talking about chemistry ).

When talking about this type of orbital layer, it is understood that they are the levels at which you can relate the image of your brand or product.

To work with layers, just imagine the universes in which you are inserted. The first universe is its own product, followed by its segment. An example is the Digital Results itself, which helps in the evolution of its partners with the Agency Blog (segment) and thus trains those who work with RD Station (product).

After these first two layers, there are the habits of those who use it, the context in which this product is inserted and the values ​​that the brand passes on.

A company that works in an exemplary way with its orbital layers is Red Bull, contemplating from the relationship of an energy drink with extreme sports to the “wings” you get when consuming the product.

Much more than a name and logo, [a brand] is an organization’s promise to a customer to deliver what the brand stands for not just in terms of functional benefits, but also emotional, self-expressive and social benefits. (David Aaker)

And how to choose the best form of content?

So far, you’ve seen the three macro-steps that comprise Storytelling, you’ve known the four main ways to guide your brainstorming, and you also know the layers to channel all your creativity.

So, you just need to understand the main types of content to motivate the engagement of your audience! They serve to speed up decision making and increase results. The main types of content are:

Informative

It is one that adds value from knowledge. It is produced to help that prospect who is wanting to know more about your product. Work with tips, hacks and usage recommendations. Dedicate yourself to teaching that potential customer. Why not put a video on the homepage of your website explaining your services and showing cases , for example?

Service

It’s content that serves to help your audience. The logic behind service content is to simplify people’s lives, solve a problem or even save time. A good example was the #PreparaPraMim campaign, which by tweeting the ingredients available in their fridge + the hashtag, the user received a ready-made recipe!

Communication

This content creates a sense of community around elements or the product itself. Working with this aspect is very simple: develop actions that welcome people and generate spontaneous communication. It also gives scope to stimulate influencers and bring together common interests.

Training

In this type of content, the intention is to promote experiences to the audience. Experience is a trend that will last for a long time. So, it is good to invest in content that has meaning and brings remarkable moments to those who interact.

And great care must always be taken that the contents do not appear forced or interruptive. They need to be developed in a meticulous way, as audiences are increasingly demanding.

Storytelling in practice

In content productionI don’t even need to say: before producing content , know who you want to reach with that. Also define which tone of voice will be used. I use the rule: “is it difficult to make it understood or does the text need something to hold the reader? I’ll give an example with a story.”

There is no more practical example than the comparison of the Solar System with Storytelling made lines ago. This is where we think of an important figure of speech: the metaphor . A metaphor is an implicit comparison with something.

Often, when I correct lectures or texts by friends and colleagues, what remains is to mature that content with metaphors. They can hold the reader and facilitate understanding.

Why not have the content corrected by someone who has no idea what it is, like a relative?

If you still find it difficult to fit metaphors and stories in the middle of the content, I suggest that you write the entire text, raw, and then include forms that facilitate understanding.

And above all, be creative ! Produce different content! It doesn’t matter if there are several articles on this topic.

Another important point is: be real . I never forget the movie Good Morning Vietnam (1987). Adrian Cronauer (the character played by Robin Williams) is a radio DJ in the middle of the Vietnam War. The big and simple difference to the rest of the radio broadcasters was: he spoke and cherished the truth, even with the stories he told. Remember this!

Obs.: fiction is also valid, as long as it doesn’t fall to the side of falsehood.

In sales

First of all: do I understand what I am selling?

If I’m an agency partner of Resultados Digitais and I bring five new clients to RD Station, am I ready to sell this idea? How am I telling this story, since it’s a complex sale?

Just because we are experts in some subject, we cannot assume that prospects speak and understand our language. Therefore, I believe that four points are fundamental:

  • Time : If we have exactly 15 minutes, how are we going to talk to this person and get our message across? Remember that Scheherazade knew he had all dawn. Sometimes we can’t tell great stories for the time we have. Pay attention to the aforementioned idea of ​​short stories and metaphors.
  • Know the subject:  let’s talk about RD Station ? OK. And how are we going to talk about the software for that prospect? We have to understand how we are going to talk to that person. Anticipate disagreements. Exemplify and facilitate explanations. Facilitate “dating” with the tool through a personalized speech.
  • Environment and interest : how many people will be on the other side? Who are they? What is the level of importance in the company? Will they be seeing your service as the last salvation for the crisis or are they a success story in your area?
  • Purpose : What is the purpose of this process in general? Is there a defined funnel to facilitate consultative sales meetings?

In consulting

A consultant is a facilitator. Otherwise I wouldn’t be a consultant. He has the duty to remove stones from the path, remove mountains and achieve the expected goals.

It’s impossible not to remember one of my favorite movies: Dead Poets Society.  In it (by coincidence) the same Robin Williams plays a poetry teacher, John Keating. As a consultant to his clients, the teacher has to share content with his students. The difference is that the orthodox master brought unusual methods of transmitting his knowledge to the students: classes in the school’s garden, for example, making the students understand and think for themselves. We call this pedagogy : the strategies and methods for teaching.

Do your agency consultants understand the importance of a speech adapted to the reality of the clients ? Or do they follow a pattern that more closely resembles a robot?

What about you, consultant? Among the scope of work, what is the topic that clients find it most difficult to understand? (I do not judge here the quality of the consultancy, but the complexity of the topic related to the knowledge of the clients).

For example: if you’re going to explain what the customer ‘s Buying Journey is , how about telling a story?

“Mr João, today we are going to talk about the Shopping Journey. First I ask: do you know someone who asked his wife to marry him on the first date? So it is! It’s also like this with the Shopping Journey: let’s go little by little…

The “Learning and Discovery” stage is compared to the day the couple met. You gradually discover who this person is.

In “Problem Recognition” appears the flea behind the ear. Is it time to go a step further with this lady?

In “Consideration of the Solution” we are considering marriage: how much would a new apartment cost, for example?

And finally, in the “Buying Decision” stage, it’s time to propose. That is the final decision.”

Storytelling for consulting can be accompanied by human situations and their feelings. This makes understanding easier.

The example of the marriage with Seu João could become an example related to sports with Seu José, and comic books with Dona Maria.

Know who you are dealing with and facilitate this understanding! This saves time.

Conclusion

What we can extract from this blogpost is a great plan of action to apply storytelling to any action imaginable!

Action plan:

  • Define the best (or best) strategies to tell your story
  • See how far you can explore your content
  • Find the best way to produce this content

That way, you have a line to optimize your creativity and deliver services out of the box, with strategies that serve as a great outline to maximize your results!

It is important to remember that storytelling, in any of the areas, can never generate reader, prospect or customer overtime . Time is sacred. Don’t abuse the duration of Storytelling, but know how to fit it in the best way possible.

If you adopt the practices we commented on here, tell us the result in the comments!

Frequently asked questions:

What is Storytelling?

Storytelling is the ability to convey content through an elaborate plot and engaging narrative, using words and audiovisual resources.

What makes up Storytelling?

The Storytelling support tripod is based on 3 elements, which must always be connected:

– Narrative Techniques: at this stage, the conceptual paths that will support the content are defined;

– Narrative Content: the most known and explored part of Storytelling, it is what gives life to the technique;

– Fluidity: for a story to be consistent, it needs to be continuous. It does not seek to be interruptive, but to create experiences and moments that bring its audiences together.

How to use Storytelling in content production?

Metaphors are widely used tools to make content easier to understand and to hold the reader’s attention. In addition to using metaphors, it is important to be creative and truthful, so that your content stands out from others.

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