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Storytelling is the Core of Public Relations

shutterstock_172510577Recently, we viewed filmmaker Andrew Stanton’s TED talk, “The Clues to a Great Story,” in which he shares insights about effective storytelling. Stanton, who is best known for helping create movies like Toy Story, WALL-E and Finding Nemo, knows a thing or two about storytelling. Listening to his talk, we were especially inspired and excited to notice the similarities between his work and the work we do as public relations professionals.

Successful PR professionals are, first and foremost, storytellers who use compelling angles to capture the attention of the press and consumers. Great PR combines words and visuals that engage targeted audiences, while taking them on a journey to discover a brand, product or service.

Although storytelling is not a new concept for PR professionals, the digital age provides new opportunities for brands to express themselves. Today, there is room to share your brand’s story via multiple channels, whether it’s Facebook posts, tweets, an email newsletter or video, among the many. However, the digital age multiplies room for error, increasing the potential for brand inconsistencies.

We’ve put together a few tips for PR professionals to follow when crafting a brand’s story:

Speak truthfully

Stay true to your brand promise by making sure that characters and ideas align with the overall brand. Whether you’re writing a tweet or working on an integrated campaign, be sure that it fits with the overall story of the brand. If your story gets confusing consumers will be turned away. We’ve seen it over and over again: confusion is the number one brand killer.

One of our clients, Amsterdam Falafelshop, an iconic quick-service restaurant with a Mediterranean twist, is quickly growing through franchising while staying true to its brand. An interview we secured for Amsterdam Falafelshop’s CEO in Bizwomen, a national business publication profiling female leaders & CEOs, helped explain the strategic growth and the brand’s intentions to remain the hyperlocal concept consumers fell in love with. Our storytelling needed to convey that under the CEO’s leadership Amsterdam Falafelshop could maintain its quirky, local vibe amid an aggressive national franchise growth strategy.

Keep your audience engaged

It’s important for your brand’s ongoing narrative to create a story that engages readers, viewers and listeners. The best ideas are those that are rooted in research and that have an understanding of your core audience. Before launching any campaign, spend time planning its execution and content. As Stanton says in his TED talk, “when your content ends, so too does the act of telling your brand’s story.”

For our client Bottle & Bottega, an art and wine concept, we spent time researching and analyzing their primary audience to learn that they value exploring and supporting local businesses. To help build on this finding we created a strategic national campaign that sends residents scavenging for artistic treasures in their community. We felt that this idea engaged the brand’s consumers in a way that allowed them to experience their love of art in their city at unexpected venues. Read more about the success of the “Art Hunts” in My Suburban Life. The campaign told the brand story through a PR push that compelled the press and consumers to take action.

Create relatable characters

Good PR storytelling should always include a relatable source or character with whom the audience can truly relate. People like to establish emotional connections with their favorite brands, and developing a lead character can do just that.

During a Father’s Day campaign, we helped celebrate the franchise partners/owners at CMIT Solution’s, an IT services franchise, by sharing their stories and favorite parenting quotes on Facebook and on the CMIT Solution’s blog. This garnered a lot of attention from CMIT Solution’s clients, who were thrilled to read their IT providers’ stories and get a small glimpse into their lives. The campaign worked especially well because CMIT Solution’s franchise owners are relatable, something that CMIT Solution’s clients value.

Leave room for creativity

Be sure your stories spark your audience’s thoughts and lure them to come back to your brand for more information. The most important thing to remember is that your brand story should constantly evolve based on a dialect you have with your followers. According to Stanton, “The best stories infuse wonder.”

Through the many integrated campaigns we’ve led, we’ve discovered that the most successful campaigns are those that leave room for your audience’s own positive interpretation. Their active engagement is the conclusion you are looking for in your brand story.

If you are looking for new, creative ways to tell your brand story, connect with us. We will keep your target audience engaged through creative storytelling using relatable characters. This is why All Points PR is one of the top franchise PR firms in the nation. To see more examples of story-driven results, visit Allpointspr.com/category/results.

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