Caught the storytelling buzz?
Storytelling — there has been so much commotion over this word lately. What is it? How does it work? Who can use it?
Well, ladies and gentlemen, storytelling is a very versatile word these days. But if you ask me, storytelling is the act of telling a story with a plot and characters, and all the rest you learned in middle school. A story can be on any platform — PR, marketing, journalism, fiction/non-fiction.
Maybe it’s the generation I’ve grown up in, potentially the types of advertisements I’ve been exposed to in the past few years, but this is my 2016 viewpoint of storytelling.
What I think confuses people about storytelling is the way in which it’s being used. Yes, sometimes storytelling is just that — telling a story. Authors tell stories, journalists tell stories. Here’s where it gets tricky — PR and marketing professionals are using storytelling to sell.
Brands like Nike and Eddie Bauer are using their storytelling abilities to sell a lifestyle within their brands. What’s that saying — I’d rather have a passport full of stamps than a closet full of stuff? The current generation is focused on themselves, their actions, experiences, and what that says about them as a person.
By telling stories of individuals, it creates characters and thus creates a desire to be like those people — to have a lifestyle similar to theirs. You might often see this with celebrities. Brands like to hire famous people to be the face of their brand because if someone sees their favorite artist selling clothes, they automatically want to look that way as well.
The term storytelling may be overused these days — probably to disguise what’s happening behind the scenes. But the matter of the fact goes the same way, we’re all telling stories — it’s just the way we’re putting them to use.