August 4, 2014
When we look at storytelling in organizations, we’re mostly operating on the influence of a cultural norm that’s been around since the beginning of time. Stories, whether they’re casual and humorous, or informative and meaningful, serve a variety of purposes, which can be easy to forget since they’ve become such a natural part of how we interact and communicate with one another.
Telling these stories can accomplish quite a bit, especially if they are shared between a brand and viewers, often allowing viewers to see that brand in a new light, or consider issues that are brought up, in a new way.
Showing the human side of a big organization
As far as companies go, IBM is pretty well known. But the release of A Boy And His Atom in 2013 brought attention to IBM in a new way.
Only a minute long, it not only made it into the Guinness Book Of World Records as The World’s Smallest Stop-Motion film, it also made us see the human side of IBM researchers, with the follow up movie about how it was made.
Sharing knowledge that relates back to brand core values
I’ve mentioned before that Chipotle’s The Scarecrow accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do through pitch perfect storytelling. Instead of focusing on what makes the story effective, which includes everything from music to character choice, it’s also important to note the type of story they’re telling, and why.
In this case, Chipotle is attempting to shine a little light on their views of the way things are in the food industry, showing disillusionment and sympathy toward the treatment of animals and the way food is processed and prepared. Through the Scarecrow’s point of view, which is also Chipotle’s, we’re shown the way things are vs, the Chipotle way, putting the brand at the head of a movement for better food, thanks to a different approach to the way we view food.
The story conveys a lot about the brand, and is able to some up the values it has become known for, which means mission accomplished in terms of how effective the storytelling was.
Revealing a common thread
5 Hour Energy’s 2:30 Horror, is set up like a movie trailer. The heroine, who drinks their product, escapes that 2:30 tired slump that claims the rest of her office mates, making them lethargic, zombie-like, and incapable of carrying out their jobs.
In this case, the genius behind the storytelling is the the fact that viewers can relate to the 2:30 Horror that is so accurately likened to an outbreak of zombies. If we were unfamiliar with that mid-afternoon fatigue, the video would’ve flopped. Instead, views soared, and it went viral, all thanks to the common thread that we can all relate to in one way or another.
By no means is this an exhaustive list about how to effectively tell a story. Instead, it’s a small sample, showing what brands are capable of when they stay true to their message and kick their creativity into overdrive, with amazing results.