Brand Storytelling: The Clues to a Great Story

TED talks are a gold mine of knowledge. Because the TED website’s topics include not only technology, education and design (TED) but also business, science, activism, health, storytelling and everything in between, one can get lost on the site for days.

A number of these short talks (most are around 20 minutes) revolve around storytelling. While they don’t necessarily address brand storytelling, they do offer insights that a brand could apply to its efforts to engage audiences through its brand story. I’ve gathered four talks I found particularly useful, and I’ve included a brand takeaway for each. Enjoy Part 1!

1. ANDREW STANTON—THE CLUES TO A GREAT STORY 

Filmmaker Andrew Stanton knows a thing or two about effective storytelling and breaking storytelling conventions. But no matter the type of story, one rule remains: the storyteller has to make the audience care. Stanton draws on his experience at Pixar as well as his own life to explain what makes a good story, why the audience wants to be put to work, and the roles of drama, anticipation and uncertainty in a gripping story. If for no other reason, watch the talk to hear a great opening for a presentation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What brands can learn from this talk

The success of a brand, at least from a marketing perspective, isn’t defined by a collection of isolated events, executions or campaigns. Instead, it is determined by how well the brand exists over the long haul—how effectively a story can be woven around the brand and told in a way that makes the audience care, propelling them forward and enticing them to “read on” (so to speak). “If things go static, stories die, because life is never static,” Stanton says.

Ensure that your brand is consistently creating content, whether it be Facebook posts, tweets, an email newsletter or videos. You’ve heard the saying “Keep your audience engaged” time and time again, but it’s imperative for your brand’s ongoing narrative. When your content ends, so too does the act of telling your brand’s story.

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Jon Thomas

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I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
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