The importance of storytelling


Image Credit: Mike Finklestein via

Every brand has a story to tell. Finding that story is the tough part. Tougher still is crafting that story into something compelling.

As communicators, storytelling is at the core of what we do. We uncover, craft and find the right audiences for stories that convey — directly or indirectly — the messages we want customers to hear. In years past, telling our stories was simple: we pitched reporters, produced print ads and talked with prospects at trade shows. Today, we have untold numbers of channels with which we can potentially get our stories told — or lost.

This response by Hanson Hosein, the director of the University of Washington’s Master of Communication in Digital Media, on the topic of information overloaddrives the storytelling point home:

“It is not just about social media to me, it is also about really effective storytelling. If you are a good storyteller, you are always going to break through.”

Good stories don’t require 200 page manuscripts. They don’t require two hour-long screen adaptations. For some, all it takes is 140 characters typed on a keyboard. Or a blog post. Or, gasp!, an actual conversation. Good stories hook people, they reel them in with colorful characters, keep them engaged with conflict and resolution, and let them walk away with a sense that their time wasn’t wasted.

Hollywood writers don’t hold eminent domain on storytelling. Companies have stories too (more than they probably know). Can you find your Oscar-worthy company story? Have you built your syndicated run of episodic stories?