Whether it’s a captivating book, a TV show you can’t stop watching or the tale of a friend’s adventure, a good story makes your feel something. That’s the magic of storytelling, it allows you to tap into people’s emotions. Since we can remember, stories have been moving us, they can make us laugh and cry, feel happy and sad, inspire us and discourage us (and sometimes all of the above). They are the most powerful tool we have to capture people’s hearts, minds and imaginations.
I have worked in a world where brands, big and small, were asking me for interesting stories and compelling narratives we could muster up about them. It was often hard to find something that felt authentic or purposeful, as most brands fail to find a story that people don’t easily see right through. Which is why today more than ever, substance really matters: people care about the actions that brands take to give meaning to their stories. Without stating the obvious candidates, there are brands that will never be able to tell a compelling story that people will truly care about, because they are inherently bad and their actions have a negative impact on the world.
That is where beyond-profits (charities, social enterprises, nonprofits and profit with purpose companies) have such an amazing advantage – you have compelling, inspiring and meaningful stories at the core of who you are (and what you do). However, even though these stories exist, I think that most charities and social enterprises need to get better at telling these stories and getting supporters (current and potential) to engage deeper with their cause. Because, let’s face it, unlike brands in any other sector, great causes have an emotional story at the heart of everything they do.
A strong narrative has the potential to be incredibly powerful. By that I mean that creating a thread to your story can enable you to really connect with people. It can engage people, change their behaviours, and importantly for our sector, it can inspire people to take action. A good narrative brings your personality, and the heart & soul of your brand through what you say. Stories and narratives are simply content in different forms, a form of getting your story through and across to people. Relevant and interesting content is the only way brands can really connect with people. And beyond-profits have the best content to share and they tend to have the strongest brand advocates. It’s now time that charities and social enterprises learn how to use storytelling to strengthen their relationships and to make people really feel something about their cause, which in turn will get them to become more valuable supporters and bigger advocates.
What’s great is that charities and social enterprises have stories that pretty much write themselves. However you need to make sure that you’re clear on what your story is and that it is authentic. From that, form a clear narrative and create content that will help people find your story interesting and intriguing. Social media and developing technology present an amazing opportunity to tell your story to a huge audience. These tools can help you take people on a journey, a journey that is suited to them and encourages them engage in your story.
Today, there’s so much noise that fills up our news feeds, most of which we skip over. That’s where the Lightful platform can help, to help you rise above the noise and tell your meaningful, authentic story. You have the stories to share, and the audience is out there ready to hear what you have to say – you just need to make sure that you put the power and magic of storytelling at the heart of all that you convey.