January 9, 2012 Leave a comment
People love stories. Stories are how we communicate. Storytellers are revered in many cultures, and in the western world the writers and directors of films and TV are generally quite well paid both financially and status-wise. Stories are our currency of communication, yet when it comes to marketing, most businesses forget about the story and focus on the facts. By doing that they lose the impact that a compelling story brings.
PR and media relations is all about effective storytelling. For example, when launching a public relations campaign for a physician, I realize that what’s going to benefit him or her the most is not to primarily focus on their credentials and medical savvy, but to emphasize impactful and compelling patient stories A tale of how a patient went from pain and suffering to living a healthy fulfilling life is one that we can connect with. It’s much more compelling to tell a vivid and compelling patient’s story, than to explain exactly how a particular procedure or medication technically worked.
People identify with the patient, not the physician; they commiserate and root for him or her. They’re emotionally involved in the story from beginning to end, particularly if the story somehow personally affects them or someone they know. If the time comes when they need to seek out the services of a physician who works in that field, guess who they’ll most likely turn to? You got it; they’re going to want the doctor who helped turn that patient’s life around in the story they heard.
Facts and figures are great. They give us information and they help give credibility. But facts and figures alone will seldom result in a sale. A laundry list of facts offers very little call to action. And even if a fact list does inherently have a call to action, chances are there is no emotional resonance to it. The information may be factual, but, unlike a story it is not always emotionally believable. Stories are evocative; they bypass thought and go directly to feeling. They shoot past the cynical adult and go right towards the child in each of us.
It’s the story that awakens interest. For example, when we launch a PR campaign for beauty products spas or beauty salons, our focus is not on the ingredients that the products contain, or precisely how a procedure is performed, or the exact technique that a particular stylist uses; our emphasis is on how the client looks, feels and changes when using that product, going to that spa, or visiting that hairstylist. Our focus is on how the client’s life is transformed.
The personal journey in the story told might be major or less dramatic, but it is the transformation that will affect the reader or viewer, or listener. Just as in real estate the saying goes that it’s location, location, location, in promotion, marketing and PR, it’s the story, the story, the story.
Copyright © Anthony Mora 2012