The state of storytelling
So much of our world is wrapped up inside the constancy of change. Only a few short years ago we had no smart phone. This is just one example of many innovations and progressions that have impacted our society. Think about how our daily story has changed since that time in 2007 at the launch of Apple’s iPhone. We now hold the whole of the world’s organised information on a device in our pockets and use it to argue with strangers or adopt an endless scroll of news we did not curate ourselves. We have greater access to data and solutions to large scale problems than ever before. But, how do we make sense of this?
Concurrently to information becoming the moniker for an age, the next age is emerging. Throughout human history each age seems to hold the seeds or perhaps the needs for the next age within it. This has been true of the information age. We are entering the age of stories. According to creativity author Daniel Pink,1 the information age will be supplanted by the conceptual age, the age of ideas. He posits that “right-brain”or “creative” people will be the next group of leaders in power in business and culture. Once all of the information is aggregated and we know what must be done, one of the only differentiators that will emerge is how it gets done. Pink believes this is why creativity will emerge and the conceptual age will begin. We see it happening today. Two companies may have similar products, similar market share, even similar values but the one engaging their audience creatively accelerates performance. This presents new challenges, too. A company may have extremely innovative concepts, may even be on the cusp of disrupting the market, but, without an inspiring way of communicating their ideas there’s no way to transform the concepts to measurable results. As we move past the information age and need to figure out what to do with all of this big data, we need ideas. But, without storytelling the ideas just become another kind of data point. And what happens in a world of competing ideas?
This is where storytelling comes in. Storytelling could well be called the craft that takes information into the form in which we can assimilate it, and do something with it. In this sense, then, concepts alone, ideation alone, is simply not enough in today’s changing and volatile world. With so many ideas and concepts to choose from in any given moment born from the sheer volume of information how we tell our story is more important that ever. Because this will become our differentiation in a sea of people speaking up for their ideas to be heard.
The Storytellers exercise these specialties for our many clients around the world bringing strategy to life through the power and influence of storytelling. One method in which this can be achieved is through the adoption of bespoke story-driven creative campaigns. By placing creativity through print, video, film, or television within a wider strategic narrative, our approach connects people to a bigger journey and motivates them with a purpose. Distilling the story down to a simple creative idea can amplify the essence of the overarching message, inspire people to learn from the ideas of their peers and make connections to their own. By equipping people with the means to challenge mindsets lasting behavioural change can be accomplished. By adopting a multi-faceted creative campaign alongside the launch of their Purpose, Vision and Values, one of our clients accomplished 2.1% volume growth and increased its trading margin by +30bps to 8.8%. In turn, the approach received industry wide recognition and remains integral to their strategy two years later.
We help inspire, accelerate, and transform their performance in the marketplace. Story or narrative is the power that will carry concepts forward at the end of the information age. The power of visuals drives a compelling narrative communicating to the feelings of people looking for a connection with your organisation. After all, data without a story is simply a set of numbers. Information without knowing how it best fits into the pressing needs of your customers is only idea competing with so many others. Stories create context and connect hearts and minds. These connections remind us of our needs and we then link those needs to the organisation telling the story. At The Storytellers we build these kinds of narratives everyday. At the end of the information age, we will need more than concepts. We need the power of narrative to communicate them. Perhaps then, we are entering into the Age of Story.
1 Pink, Daniel. (2014). A Whole New Mind. Riverhead Books.