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4 Pitfalls of Storytelling and How to Avoid Them

Facts Mean Nothing

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.

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4 Pitfalls of Storytelling and How to Avoid Them

4 Pitfalls of Storytelling and How to Avoid Them

https://medium.com/ama-marketing-news/4-pitfalls-of-storytelling-and-how-to-avoid-them-47bd98128d8e

medium.com

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Key Ideas

The Art of Telling Stories

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.

Facts Mean Nothing

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.

An Impactful Story

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.

Presentation Matters

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 Programs

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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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Storytelling is...
Storytelling is...
...the process of using fact and narrative to communicate something to your audience. Some stories are factual, and some are embellished or improvised in order to better explain the core message.
Why we tell stories
  • Stories solidify abstract concepts and simplify complex messages;
  • Stories bring people together: stories connect us through the way we feel and respond to them;
  • Stories inspire and motivate, by tapping into people’s emotions and baring both the good and bad.
Good stories are …
  • Entertaining. Good stories keep the reader engaged and interested in what’s coming next.
  • Educational. Good stories spark curiosity and add to the reader’s knowledge bank.
  • Universal. Good stories are relatable to all readers and tap into emotions and experiences that most people undergo.
  • Organized. Good stories follow a succinct organization that helps convey the core message and helps readers absorb it.
  • Memorable. Whether through inspiration, scandal, or humor, good stories stick in the reader’s mind.

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Persuasion through storytelling

Stories are a very integral part of being persuasive. 

Stories trump data when it comes to persuasion because stories are easier to understand and relate to.

What makes a story engaging
  • Suspense and “cliffhangers” allow you to create an addictive narrative;
  • Creating detailed imagery;
  • Using literary techniques for turning simple stories into memorable works of art.
  • Change made easier by providing an example.
Characteristics of persuasive stories
  • Delivery: matters as much as the content.
  • Imagery:  the brain “lights up” in reacting to imagery, truly transporting the reader to the events being described. 
  • Realism: poeple need a “human” element in the story that is easy for them to imagine.
  • Structure: people prefer stories that follow a logical manner.
  • Context: significant impact on the persuasiveness of a story.
  • Audience: determine who you don’t want reading your content along with who you do.
Three-Act storytelling structure
Three-Act storytelling structure

One of the oldest and most straightforward storytelling formulas:

  • Setup: Set the scene and introduce the character(s)
  • Confrontation or “Rising action” : Present a p...
Five-Act storytelling structure

Also known as Freytag’s Pyramid:

  • Exposition: Introduce important background information
  • Rising action: Tell a series of events to build up to the climax
  • Climax: Turn the story around (usually the most exciting part of the story)
  • Falling action: Continue the action from the climax
  • Dénouement: Ending the story with a resolution.
Before – After – Bridge storytelling formula
  • Before: Describe the world with Problem A.
  • After: Imagine what it’d be like having Problem A solved.
  • Bridge: Here’s how to get there.

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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