Organizational Storytelling and PR

Quotation text: “I do not consider the machines which bear my name simply as machines … I take them as concrete evidence of the working out of a theory of business–a theory that looks toward making the world a better place in which to live.”
-Henry Ford, 1922

We recently attended a Storytellers session during Chicago Ideas Week, which got us thinking about organizations and their stories. Of course, as attendees we walked away with useful information, as well as pearls of wisdom and inspiration about the process of storytelling; but some of the discussion got us to thinking about organizations and their responsibility to tell their story, and to tell it effectively. In most cases that responsibility falls within the purview of public relations and communications professionals.

Yet, too many organizations, profit and nonprofit alike, still view telling their stories and creating their own narrative as a process to be shared only with selected audiences: shareholders, funders, prospects, current supporters or customers, legislative interests or regulators, etc. They fail to realize the broad social interest, at large, in knowing the motivations, history and experiences that drive our nation’s companies, large and small. In a sense, companies have an obligation to tell their stories and lessons learned factually, with authority, and with humanity, for the greater good.

With that in mind, for marketers and communications pros, we gleaned some ideas, insights and trends from Storytellers, which we thought we’d share here:

  •  “Storytelling is giving information, even when people aren’t asking for it,” Arun Chaudhary, Former Official White House Videographer
Storytellers picture board

Picture board of CIW Storytellers Session

  •  “Brands are leaning to purpose … picking stories that will be their narrative,” Susan Credle, Chief Creative Officer, Leo Burnett USA
  •  “Authenticity  is the key to storytelling; letting people be who they are,” Chaudhary
  •   “Good stories follow curiosity and passion … Emotion drives stories,” Rebecca Skloot, Author
  •  “The heart can make anything important,”  Carol Edgarian, Co-founder, Narrative Magazine
  •  “Transparency is a discipline, and not a home run,” Chaudhary

We really hope your company is in the process of perfecting its own story. If you need help, feel free to contact us at MediaWorks:  OrganizationalPR@aol.com.

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