by Ron Caughlin – an award-winning Marketer and Master Storyteller.

Have you ever wondered how some people have the gift of the gab and can tell a great story with ease?

Are you tired of listening to presentations that are full of charts, graphs and data that put you to sleep?

So often it is easy for us to do what is comfortable and to report the facts, data and present the findings without truly getting the message across to the audience.   BUT….no one likes to hear “data garble”, it bores us to death and leaves us asking “so what” and what’s next.

Unfortunately, this has become the norm for business professionals today and generally there is a lack of understanding on how to develop critical insights.  This includes the ever important “so what’s” gleaned from the information in a form that gets noticed.

Getting your point across is not a quantitative exercise; it is actually more effective when the data is transferred into a qualitative emotional insight and when we use old fashion intuition to come up with our solution we get noticed.

I believe creating emotional connections with an audience is the key to getting your point across and there is no better way than the tried and true method of storytelling.

Storytelling is inherent in our DNA  and fundamental to our lives, our ancestors generations gone by told stories at family gatherings  to spread family traditions and engage them in ways that allowed them to see themselves in that situation.  As well they learned something and in return kept his/her eyes glued on the narrator.

Storytelling is easy for some and challenging for others. What is it that makes so easy?  It is the ability to tap into the left of the brain and creatively come up with an engaging story that connects at an emotional level.

There are many gifted storytellers and at TED they have categorized the best including Joe Sabia who adds a twist by mastering storytelling using technology and the Ipad.   TED has even created a theme called “Master Storyteller” with a grouping of all the best storytellers.   There are even scholars that have put a lot thought into creating stories even if you believe “Altered States”.  Professor Brian Sturm presents storytelling as a way of organizing information, conveying emotions, and building community. A model of storytelling as altered state of consciousness (the story trance) is presented that includes 16 portals to altered states.

How do you extend this notion of storytelling to a brand? 

A brand story can help explain the essence of a brand and how it should be expressed and activated.  Brand storytelling also connects people at the deepest level to what is important to the organization and how it can be portrayed, delivered and communicated.  The three basic elements of any story also apply to how to create an engaging story for a brand which includes:

1)  Conflict;

2)  Plot and

3)  Character.

Every story needs to have conflict to create tension which creates interest and of course we need an engaging plot and interesting characters to get caught up and connected with the story.   However, more important is the “Big Idea” that extends and drives  the story.

Structure is also important to a good story and Christopher Brooker identified seven (7) different plot types that can be used and associated when developing a brand story in his book  The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories.  These plot types are as follows:

  • Overcoming the Monster
  • The Quest
  • Voyage and Return
  • Rebirth
  • Rags to Riches
  • Tragedy &
  • Comedy

Applying any one of these plot types will help you frame and position the brand story.  These plot types make it easier to come up with the story line and ultimately they are tried and true plots that writers and storytellers alike have used for many centuries.

Next time when pressed with a presentation, give storytelling a try and watch how your audience perks up and helps you to get noticed!

Look out for my next blog posting on storytelling and how to convert this notion further to brands.