These days, thanks to technology and the rise of social media, there are millions of opportunities for people to connect with the stories that matter to them. Any medium can be used to tell a story, as long as the message is carefully crafted and developed with the medium(s) in mind.
When entertainers tell stories, the goal is to move people to feel emotion. When organizations tell stories, the goal is to move people to take action. That desired action may be to buy a product, attend an event or get involved with a cause. That clearly defined call to action is one defining element of effective storytelling for brands and organizations. According to a white paper from NCM Fathom Business Events:
Traditional stories include a beginning, middle and end. Compelling business stories are also constructed linearly. But, unlike purely entertaining or informative stories, these stories add one more element to the structure – a call to action. This is what is unique to storytelling in business. Business communications also follow what is called a “dramatic curve,” a four-act structure which leads to resolution and ultimately to a call to action.
Crafting your brand story begins by considering how you want it to end. What is the desired outcome? How do you want your audience to feel about you? What do you want them to do? What are the specific next steps that you want them to take (act, interact or change)? How are you going to measure the results?
So how do you create stories that compel your audience to act? Begin with the end in mind. Decide on your desired outcome and then incorporate these four elements into your message to engage your audience and encourage them to get involved:
- Clarify your message. What do you want the consumer or audience to do? Are the message and the resulting targeted action crystal clear?
- Confirm why action is important. Why does your audience need to act? What benefit does it provide?
- Explain how you want the consumer to take this action. What steps does your audience need to take to complete this action?
- Confirm how the audience will know when they are acting out the changed behavior correctly and what is in it for them. What will be the audience’s reward?
Crafting a message to include these fundamental elements, both creatively and subtly, is the key to ensuring that the audience does not feel sold, but instead is led down a storyline path that arrives at the destination, or desired action.
photo by Katrina Snaps