4 Pitfalls of Storytelling and How to Avoid Them
Today, brand perceptions and relationships are increasingly difficult to maintain, due to constraints of limited budgets, a whole lot of options, and audiences who are distracted, disinterested and skeptical. Reciting endless facts and figures cannot hold the audience interest or ensure any recall, as an authentic story can.
A story intrigues us, gets us involved and makes our mind communicate silently with the storyteller. It can break through any distractions, change our perception, inspire us, and generate lasting memories.
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The assumption that the audience will logically look at the facts and figures and make the right choice is fundamentally flawed. Audiences ignore most factual data, which even if repeated often, is forgotten or distorted.
Even when brands know the value of communicating through stories, it is hard to create truly powerful narratives.
An impactful story usually involves empathetic and authentic people overcoming challenges, which can inspire, entertain and inform audiences.
How a good story is presented to the audience matters.
Brands who don't take professional help in communicating stories end up with a confusing, badly edited and incoherent narrative that is a put-off.
Detailed stories with vivid examples can intrigue the audience, leading to successful communication.
Mismanaged story platforms, disconnected programs and teams with conflicting guidelines can botch up a good story. If there are too many stories, the impact is diluted.
Having a signature story, which is integrated, coherent and authentic can make organizations avoid these four pitfalls and find success in their brand communication.
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Bring the hiring pitch home with personal stories that show how people authentically live out your company’s mission. Pixar’s films often start from a real, personal story.
Your company’s big-picture mission might be inspiring, but it’s not necessarily personal. You can make it more personal by peppering your pitches with personal anecdotes about ways that you’ve changed.
After you’ve hooked your audience/candidate, you need to catch their attention and get the story moving by animating it with change and transformation. In Pixar’s movies, that change isn’t just about reversals of fortune—they’re about personal transformation.
Great stories promise to change the life of the protagonist who we imagine ourselves to be, if not our own. In light of that, recruiters should focus on how candidates’ lives will change—not just their day-to-day tasks, but also how the new role will change the way they feel.
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One of the oldest and most straightforward storytelling formulas:
Also known as Freytag’s Pyramid:
Set the stage of a problem that your target audience is likely to experience ( a problem that your company solves). Describe a world where that problem didn’t exist. Explain how to get there or present the solution (i.e. your product or service).
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