“The world is shaped by two things – stories told and the memories they leave behind.”
World Storytelling Day is celebrated on or near the Spring Equinox each year and celebrates global storytelling. In 2016 it was celebrated on the 20th March, which happens to be the last day of the Irish 4-day St Patricks Day festival. This is particularly appropriate because the St Patricks Day festival has become a celebration of Irish storytelling past and present which embraces oral and visual storytelling at its best.
What has this got to do with brand storytelling is probably running through your mind at this stage and the answer is everything.
The 5 Tips brands can learn from World Storytelling Day are
1.Brands Need To Listen
“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen. “
One of the pillars of World Storytelling Day is the need to encourage people to listen to stories so they can share these stories. In a commercial organisation with competing time pressures a brand storyteller might not take the time to listen to their co-workers so they can understand and tell the real brand story. The best brand stories are created when the storyteller takes the time to listen to the real story.
2.Use a Language Your Audience Will Understand
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. “
World Storytelling Day is all about using a language your audience will understand. Brands need to also tell their story in a language their audience will understand. Keep it as simple as possible so the story is as sharable as possible.
3.Make It Memorable
“Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.”
Corrie Ten Boom
The date chosen for the annual World Storytelling Day is the Spring Equinox, a time of renewal in nature and very appropriate for a day to celebrate the oral tradition of storytelling. Brands should try to create a memorable hook for their storytelling. Creating a story based on an idea that their audience find easy to remember helps your audience connect with your story.
4.You Have A Global Audience
“The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.”
World Storytelling Day is a global event with strong emphasis on local events. Not every brand may need a global audience for their story; it is however available for them that will need it. Adapt your story for your local audience and remember, “One size does not always fit all”. We may consider ourselves global citizens we do however often have provincial way at looking at life.
5.Pick a Theme
“There are no original ideas. There are only original people. “
Barbara Grizzuti Harrison
World Storytelling Day always has a theme. In 2016 it was “strong women” and in 2017 it will be “Transformation”. By picking a theme World Storytelling Day is able to give some structure to the concept.
The same approach is used to celebrate the St Patricks Day Festival which in 2016 used the idea of “Imagine if” for its main event, the actual St. Patricks Day Parade.
By sticking to single idea a brand can tell a unique story that is easy to understand and share. One theme is easy to manage and focuses the mind of the storyteller. Brand storytellers who pick a single theme or idea can concentrate all their resources on delivering one idea. Their audiences will be able to focus on the core message and are more likely to really understand the story without being distracted by non-essential messages.
“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.”
Robert McAfee Brown
Brands that concentrate their storytelling resources on a single message that is well told are far more likely to have a successful outcome than brands that try to do too much with their storytelling. Always put yourself in your audience’s shoes when you are creating your brand stories and try to understand the story from their viewpoint. Understanding the impact your story will have on your audience will help you tell a better story