5 Missed Opportunities for Storytelling

July 11, 2019

Storytelling is everywhere in your company, whether you realize it or not. Marketers are getting the hang of it in their own domain, but miss opportunities to tell stories behind the scenes in every company. Here are the top five that people miss most often:

1. Brand values

Your values aren’t window dressing, they’re the ethos for everything you do. They’re the foundation for every story that you tell, and how you get the most important audience on board – your employees. What kind of business do you want to be? Your value tell it. They’re how you attract and keep people and customers because they tell a story about what you both believe is important.

2. Recruiting new employees

If you want to find the right people, you have to tell the right story. Culture matters more and more to employees, especially people earlier in their career. You can’t tout an open, creative culture and then make the recruitment process pure hell. You also need to think about how you go about attracting the type of talent you want. If need to groom people into roles with highly technical skills, then tell the story about how they’ll have the chance to grow what they know. Whether that’s through your corporate blog, a video series or social media, you have to give people a peek behind the curtain so they trust that what’s on the inside matches the hopes you’re raising on the outside.

3. The grapevine

We all know that every company has an unofficial channel of communication. The grapevine is how people share information based on what they remember about people. From office politics to casual conversations, you can fuel the story you want told through word-of-mouth communication by giving people the right ingredients. For example, a fast-growing tech company realized they were hiring new people so fast that in any given meeting, half the team hadn’t met the other before. The team lead went around the room and had people introduce themselves by name and title. Then he did it again but this time they told a story about their typical day. When everyone was asked to write down something they remembered about each person in the room, no one remembered the job titleut they did know who in the company to call if they need help or specific advice. Which leads us to…

4. Internal communications

Do you want employees to pay attention to the information you share with them? Of course you do, or you wouldn’t put in so much time and effort. The quickest way you can make a difference is to quit with all the horrible presentation titles. No one cares about The Q3 Marketing Strategy Go/No-Go Update. But I’ll bet you a bunch that they’ll all remember it if you titled it How We’ll Compete with the Marvel Franchise for Audience Growth. Which presentation would you rather sit through? And what does each title tell you about the brand?

5. Pitches

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times. Bad pitches kill great ideas. Every pitch is its very own story. You give your audience context, show them what the world looks like and create the opportunity. Introduce your characters and then go on a journey with your idea. What will the future look like? Storytellers spend a lot of time thinking about the nuances of the words they use for every audience. When you pitch an idea, you need to do the exact same thing.

Photo credit: Pixabay

About Carla Johnson

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Carla Johnson is a world-renowned storyteller, an entertaining speaker, and a prolific author.

Over the last two decades, Carla has helped architects and actuaries, executives and volunteers, innovators and visionaries leverage the art of storytelling to inspire action. Her work with Fortune 500 brands has served as the foundation for many of her books.

In her latest project, Fast Forward Files, she contributes to a larger collection of thoughts by some of the world’s greatest minds -  Shazam co-founder Dhiraj Mukherjee, activist and entrepreneur Heather Mills and behavioral designer, technologist and mental-health champion Peter Trainor. Consistently named one of the top influencers in B2B, digital and content marketing, Carla regularly challenges conventional thinking. 

Today, she travels the world teaching anyone (and everyone) how to cultivate idea-driven teams that breed unstoppable creativity and game-changing innovation.