1. Each hero journey has a tension arc
Well-made stories are told from the perspective of the hero. This is usually the customer. The beginning is essential, because we ask ourselves: Does that have anything to do with me? If the answer is "yes" and the whole thing is relevant for us, we keep listening. If it does not matter to us, our brain simply shuts off.
People love heroes above all when they pursue a noble goal and grow beyond themselves. The narrative of a so-called heroic journey follows. This leads to a glorious end along a stress curve from a suboptimal initial range over obstacles and blockages, errors and confusion or agony and near-collapses.
CompanyProducts and employees act as accomplices, as loyal companions or useful spirits, who remain in the background but without whom the transformation does not succeed. And like in a good movie, the conflict is over. The solution then comes suddenly and quickly. Above all, good storytelling does not make your own company, but the customer's hero.
2. How to Build a Hero's Journey
When building up, you can orient yourself to fairy tales. They have the following pattern:
- What was the beginning (= the problem, the doubt)?
- Who (= the hero) did (= the good deed) with whose help (= the good fairy)?
- Where lurking dangers (= the adventure, the obstacle, the opponent)?
- How was the whole thing going (= the victory, the happy ending)?
The basic model of a typical heroic journey, developed by the American mythologist Joseph Campbell, comprises twelve stages in two acts:
- The first act: the old world. A situation that is suboptimal. The idea that there is something better out there. Cross-hatchers are trying to prevent the break-up. Encounters with a mentor who makes courage and shows ways. Crossing the threshold to new territory.
- The second act: the new world. Examinations, opponents and allies appear. The day of the showdown is approaching. The decisive battle takes place. Victory is won. The return journey will be made. The transformation shows first fruits. The goal is reached.
3. Story telling in digital times
Modern stories are now told transmedially, that is across different media. Listeners and viewers are no longer restricted to the function of the passive consumer, but they can actively and creatively contribute: by helping to shape the progress of a story, to obtain the offered background material, or to comment and to vote at least.
Let the fans go a whole story on their own. In some cases, this even happens automatically. Thousands of fans, for example, did not want to accept the Harry Potter series coming to an end. On pottermore, they are now developing the story further variegated.
"If advertising and PR succeed in inspiring the target group for a transmedia story, this is rewarded by an increased length of stay, greater brand loyalty and a higher referral rate," writes Petra Sammer in her book Storytelling. Narrative images and video clips play an increasingly important role in this context. In this case, one speaks of visual storytelling.
4. Preparing stories for the media
The selected stories must be prepared for the media: the long version of the story is told on their own website. It is shortened or distributed in Facebook on Facebook. On Instagram, she is garnished with plenty of pictures. And as a moving image she comes on YouTube and Co., for example, like a fast-paced thriller.
Finally, depending on the target group, different facets of a story should be emphasized: the buyer of a machine needs a different story from the production manager. A bachelor is interested in other details than a proud family man. And a connoisseur fascinates other finesses than a novice. Guests can be very helpful in the construction.
No matter how you knit your stories, they always have two objectives: an internal, so the employees, and an external, ie prospective customers, customers, partners, suppliers, banks, investors, applicants, multipliers, the public.
Internally, examples and anecdotes can be used in a targeted manner to illustrate how corporate philoso- phy is to be lived concretely. Tell, for example, how a clever employee idea proved itself in practice and what the customers had of it.
Report the milestones to a big win over the fiercest competitor. Or celebrate a successful (digital) project in all its facets. Develop right story series with "Continued". Or tell a story from the point of view of different protagonists. And: Feed the media with stories instead of money.
6. Where stories can be placed - externally and internally
Use all existing communication tools and touchpoints to place stories (instead of barren facts)
I also recommend setting a customer-related success story at the beginning of every meeting. Under the heading "The customer speaks", this gets the best seat: agenda item number one on the agenda. In each case, one participant reports on a customer enthusiasm story that has produced the company.
We should be dealing with We-Stories, that is, with those in which several areas were involved. This promotes the spirit of the community and the feeling of being in us. It is also about finding the secret customers' enthusiasm of the company, the gloom, which the bright light of the public does not like. They often have the best stories available.
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