“We’re seeing this expansion of what non-fiction can be in storytelling, I think they’re more thrilling than a lot of fiction films.”

These are not our words but the ones of Laura Poitras, an Oscar-winning American documentary film director and producer.

So if you think your story is boring, or worse, that you don’t have any to tell, think again. Everyone has a story, and as Laura Poitras mentions, real-life stories are often much more fascinating than the fictional ones we see in movies. It’s just a matter of asking the right questions and finding the right way to do it justice.

But what is storytelling and why should you care? 

In marketing, storytelling is the art of using stories to engage with your audience and build your brand.

It’s about claiming who you are, where you come from, and what you aspire to. It’s about showing the human side of your business and sharing what matters most to your organization.

Most importantly, it’s about sharing information in a way that people can relate to it and feel inspired.

As the co-founder of Apple, a visionary and a great communicator, Steve Jobs was an excellent example of what a charismatic persona and an amazing storyteller can do for a brand. Not only was he able to captivate an audience while telling stories onstage, but he also shared his vision in such a way that everyone wanted to work for him or buy from him. As a corporation, Apple leveraged that approach and became the brand storyteller that we know today.

Like it or not, consumers have never been this solicited and they have the luxury of choosing where they spend their dollars. Globalization has flattened the offer and it’s harder than ever to stand out. 

This is where brand storytelling comes in.

At the end of the day, your story is your only true differentiating factor, the one thing that makes you “you”. Understanding what is storytelling and how to use it to your advantage will allow you to get noticed and shine.

How to tell a story right

Ever read a book in one shot or watched a movie a thousand times? Well, that’s probably the result of good storytelling. Fictional or not, the same formula can be applied to your own story.

Think about it. What are the ingredients to a good story?

First, the plot. It has to be consistent so that it makes sense but it also needs to have a few punch lines to surprise you and pike your interest.

Second, the characters. Perhaps you feel a connection with one of them or maybe you’re intrigued by the fact that it’s the complete opposite of you. Plus, there’s always some sort of villain, the character that you just love to hate.

Lastly, there’s the way the story is told.

In the case of books, some like the narrative to be extremely detailed so they can picture exactly how things would look like in reality. On-screen, there may or may not be a narrator but things like music, costumes, lighting and décor all influence the final product and how you react to it.

All of this is to say that whether you are putting pen to paper, creating a video, recording a podcast or assembling images for a presentation, you have to think about all the elements that will make your story a memorable one.

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