How PR Should Use Storytelling
As a PR person, I would say: PR has always been storytelling. Storytelling is clearly defined as a narrative concept that initially clearly differs from the usual marketing and public relations.
Good Example of Use
Good stories have a central protagonist, a hero. However, PR generally speaks about "target groups" and does not single out a single person or a single fate as an example.
Or yet another example: Every good story begins with a conflict. We watch an exciting conflict in a good movie for 100 minutes. And only at the end does a surprising solution come up.
There is no way we are looking at 100 minutes of solution. This is boring. Often, however, public relations work precisely the same way: it puts the solution at the center of communication.
This may be correct for many communication tasks, but it is not storytelling as I understand it.
Why Do We Like to Remember Stories So Much?
I would like to mention three reasons here, although there are many more:
Stories bind information, facts, and data in a logical context. That helps to remember.
Stories trigger empathy in the listener, i.e., we react emotionally and thus anchor information together with emotion. This concept is much stronger than neutral information
Stories bypass reactance. If you confront someone exclusively with data and facts, you are addressing the listener's systematic thinking. And the listener usually replies systematically. I.e., if he mistrusts the numbers, the listener will immediately question analytically thinking and come up with counter-arguments. A story, on the other hand, initially invites emotionally into the narrative world. We are so preoccupied with the story as we listen that it is difficult to maintain our analytical thinking parallel to the flow of the narrative. Therefore, there is initially less reactance when listening to stories than when listing factual facts. Stories look pretty nasty.
Why Does Advertising Need Storytelling?
I can't speak for classic advertising. There are professionals. But in public relations, I can say that we urgently need storytelling.
Furthermore, the communication channels are currently full of information and the speed with which we communicate "at speed" that facts and data simply rush through. Therefore, the topic is very relevant for PR because stories still manage to penetrate and, above all, slow down.
Because a good story increases the length of stay. In my opinion, this is also one of the reasons why Google is very clever with storytelling and thus gives us beautiful stories.
How Does Storytelling Work in PR Anyway?
Stories are not a press release. The format of the press release certainly still has its justification for providing factual information.
But parallel to this "information service" for journalists, we have to help our customers tell their stories on their channels. The task of PR is to stimulate a real, authentic conversation in public and among the relevant target group, and for this, PR storytelling uses a PESO mix (paid, earned, shared, owned).
Storytelling helps to attract the attention of journalists and other opinion leaders ("earned" media). Storytelling is used in the company's own channels, "Owned Media", to support earned media. Shared and paid media are also used to initiate and fuel conversation. Storytelling may also attract artists and desginers to create a unique sticker printing or other artworks too which in return can increase your exposure.