With social media and the need for deeper engagement between brands and their stakeholders on the rise, the public relations industry is solidifying its relevancy more than ever. This can be seen in the unexpected places that our industry leaders are not only starting to pop up, but also lead the conversation.
One such place was during this year’s Advertising Week where, for the first time, PR agencies were invited to join the conversation. During the week’s festivities, Porter Novelli led a panel discussing the importance of storytelling and how it can be used to form deeper connections for our clients and brands. What became the most apparent during the conversation was the focus on creating content and experiences that go further than self promotion.
The idea of telling the story behind “the story” was discussed in great detail by three panelists across different disciplines. On panel:
- Nicky Balestrieri, senior creative director, ExtraExtra and director of marketing and events, papermag
- Loren Feldman, small business editor, New York Times
- Rachel Shechtman, founder, Story
A few takeaways from the panel were:
Storytelling is a Science
To understand the gist of storytelling, our panelists first defined storytelling as being about the intersection of content, commerce and community. Bringing an engaging story together for a brand takes knowing how to connect what your audience will enjoy and, at the same time, creating that enjoyment with just enough product or brand promotion that your message is clear without diluting the experience.
Understand the Components You Are Bringing Together
A huge part of storytelling is about the audience. What identity is your brand trying to portray that your audience can connect with? How can you take that identity and maximize it to an extreme that it adds value and creates ongoing conversation? Where is your audience and what will your delivery method be to connect with them? When you examine these questions creatively and do a deeper dive into the various vehicles through which you can drive engagement – whether it be B2B, B2C, marketing, advertising, PR, etc. – you start to challenge the norm and create a compelling story that makes your brand more relevant to new targets.
The Story Isn’t Always “The Story”
The story you or your brand is trying to tell will not always be the most engaging. Tell a story that goes beyond the “pitch.” Why is your story interesting? What events led up to your story and who are the affected parties? In PR, we answer these almost instinctively but it’s our job to not only go as deep as possible, but to also push our clients towards this as well. Loren Feldman stated, “The creative contribution from our [audience] is every bit as important a part of the story” and it should be taken into account before creating the content. The one component of every good story is that it has the opportunity for growth and to inspire new stories. How we allow our audience to share their stories alongside the brand can make all of the difference between an okay campaign and an award winner.