Who are the lead characters? How did you get to the point where you are right now? And, what do you want people to believe?
A successful PR strategy is built on the ability to tell great stories – stories that set you apart, lend you credibility and bring your messages to life. Communicating these strengths and brand truths are vital to define and enhance a company’s reputation, which is ultimately what customers buy on.
Of all the communications options, PR is especially suited to storytelling because of its constant search for news, insight and trust. If you have a half-baked story, media just won’t take it. To find the great stories, you first have to determine your company’s business goals and greater marketing objectives. Against this backdrop, PR will identify the messages and positioning that will deliver the best results. Once you know what space you want to occupy in people’s minds, finding the talking points that will make the world take notice is so much easier. Sources of great stories could include:
- The people: Who are the people behind your company and what are they about? What do they believe in? Telling personal stories will help other people relate to you.
- The beginning: How did it all come about? Did you have a customer in crisis? What happened then? What kind of trials and tribulations did you face? Think turmoil, drama, twists and turns.
- Your purpose: What problem do you solve for clients? Real-life examples and anecdotes about what keeps people up at night can go a long way.
- Competitive differentiation: What do you do differently than anyone else? What is your particular expertise? The greater the gap between the old and the new way, the greater the drama. The drama keeps people glued.
- Customer heroes: Stories told by others (like your customers and partners) can be even more powerful than the things you say about yourself. What customer challenges and successes can you share?
A good PR strategy can also help bridge the gap between where you are now and an ideal position you would like to hold in time. With the right messages you could either increase positive perceptions about a product, service, company or indeed, an industry, or entirely change existing perceptions. The only rules are that the messages and stories have to be authentic, backed up by facts and be intriguing. Many companies have claimed (often referred to as “marketing puff” by journalists) but they never achieve true perceptual change because they are either not inspiring or not believable. Finding true stories that you can tell in an interesting way will create the context to make your key messages stick. And that’s PR success. What do you find challenging about storytelling? Leave us a comment below and we’ll round up some support from the DUO community.