As long as humans have been communicating we’ve used stories to relate to each other, make sense of the world around us, and help us make decisions as we go through life. Advancements in technology have us sharing greater amounts of information, and we’re finding ourselves making more decisions based on those stories.
If having great ideas and remarkable testimony enables anyone to have a voice in this new socially empowered world, then the future has much to offer when it comes to corporate storytelling and brand journalism. This rise of “brand journalism” was included among the top 12 trends in public relations for 2012 by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).
The role of companies has changed. Being publishers of corporate stories and content that will educate and help shape perception of the brand has moved us away from earned or pitched media to owned media; that real estate on the web that brands own and control. Many corporations looking to hire talent in this area are starting to connect with journalists coming out of the declining print industries.
One of the first interviews we did for The Tasti D-Lite Way was with Thomas Scott, CEO of Brand Journalists, a Nashville, Tennessee–based firm that provides PR, social media, blogging, and organic SEO services for franchise systems. He offers some background on this growing industry:
“Brand journalism involves telling stories about a company that makes readers want to know more, stories that don’t read like marketing or advertising copy. It means having conversations with them—not preaching at them and giving them real and interesting stories they can relate to. People today are so inundated with advertising and marketing speak they now filter out marketing messages. I believe that humans, adults in particular, first judge things as relevant. Before they’ll listen to what you have to communicate, there’s a filter that says either (a) it’s relevant to what I’m interested in or (b) it’s really not relevant and I don’t care. There’s no in between on that. When it comes to being marketed to, consumers have these filters more pronounced than ever. So the only way to cut through the noise is to get yourself in the relevant bucket. You do that by telling stories. The story is the essence of human communication and as long as humans have communicated, we have used stories to make sense of the world around us, help us relate to each other and to help us make decisions.”
As humans we’re wired with a desire to make a real and meaningful connection. This might explain why when someone is telling you a good story, you don’t even realize it. That’s the power of a well-told story. It allows the company or organization to become human. Thomas says, “Being human is about having a real, honest connection with people. There’s a real promise with social media and the conversational and emotional connections with people that can happen there.”
More than ever consumers are looking for businesses they can trust and feel good about. Thomas concludes, “In today’s marketplace, attraction trumps promotion. This approach builds trust and distinguishes a company from its competitors. The message is more important than the money. People need to tell better stories. It doesn’t really matter if you’re a large company or a small company. To me, it is really an equalizer. In this age of technology where we’re all connected, you can’t fake the message.”
Everyone has a story to tell. Start sharing yours in a human way and see what happens.
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