Lessons from CommsCon: How to tell great stories

Lessons from CommsCon: How to tell great stories

Author: Alice MacLaverty — Read time: 3 mins

Traditionally, during the first stage of the campaign planning process, us marketers have focused on the client’s message and their audience, i.e. what they want to say and who they want to say it to.

While these remain important elements, we now live in a world where we want audiences to engage, share and relate to our content. With this in mind, we’ve begun asking ourselves: ‘how do we want the audience to respond to our activity?’ and ‘how do we want to make them feel?’.

Invoking a reaction or emotion can be achieved by telling the right stories, to the right people, on the right platform. It’s essential these stories cut through the clutter, encourage conversation and spark an interest. If they don’t, what’s the point in sharing them?

But how do you tell a great story? Here are some top tips we picked up from CommsCon18:

Your stories must be…

  • Measurable: Ensure you survey opinions before and after a campaign to see if you’ve succeeded in shifting perceptions.
  • Data-driven: This is fundamental to everything. Creativity + data = communications.
  • Effective: What desired outcome do you want to achieve? Be focused and clear in your objectives.
  • PR-led: PR can build a consistent customer journey across all channels. But don’t just do PR for the sake of doing PR. Have a clear idea what you want from it and don’t just assume the press release is your only option. Can you direct journalists to your blog instead? This is Virgin’s current PR strategy and seems to work pretty well for them!

How should I tell a story?

  • You aren’t going to get attention by being vanilla. The British Heart Foundation used the hashtag #HardAndFast at midnight. A bold and risky way to increase clicks to their website, perhaps, but it sure worked!
  • There’s no story without a plot - people love a bit of upset and drama.
  • Learn how to talk to people.
  • Be inclusive.
  • Solve problems in an original way.
  • Always include a human element.
  • Focus on your story first, then think about how it translates across different channels.

Remember internal communications

  • This needs a brand too. Find a creative way to push messages to your own employees and across your company.
  • Employees are, in a sense, influencers. They broadcast messages directly to your stakeholders, so it’s vital they’re included in your strategy.

Here are the brands who’ve truly conquered storytelling.