What’s your story?

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about the importance of turning data and facts into compelling stories. Kim touched on the concept of turning statistics into stories in her recap of Soledad Obrien’s keynote speech at PRSA’s International Conference last week. And Chris Brogan recently wrote about the types of stories people enjoy hearing, what constitutes a compelling story and how people relate to the stories they’re told in his recent blog post, “Tell Us Your Story”.

In his post, Chris brought up some really interesting points I’d like to share.

  • Companies often tell “origin” stories. For example, “Grandma had a great idea for a cookie back in 1929, and from there, we’ve built the business into a global company dedicated to bringing the best cookies ever.” It’s nice to know how the company started, but it doesn’t tell us anything about the company now. It doesn’t give consumers a reason to identify with the company or brand unless they, too, had a grandma who baked great cookies.
  • People want to hear stories that help them relate to a company. They want to feel a common vibe between the company’s story and the story they’re telling about themselves.
  • Stories are a learning opportunity. Chris gives the example:  ”You can hear someone say “don’t text and drive,” but when you hear the story of a promising 17-year-old football hopeful who looked down to see who texted, only to fly off the road, hit a tree, and vanish from this earth, it changes how you consider the information. Stories can give us an emotional connection to data. Stories can compel us to reinforce our opinion, or to shift our perspective. And from that, we can then be further educated.”
I love hearing stories. I am one of those people who find comfort, inspiration and meaning in the stories of others. Whether it’s a family member, friend, stranger or company, I am a listener. And so are many other consumers.
So, what’s your story?

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