At (W)right On, we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of good communication practices. Had the agency been around in the 50’s – 90’s, things would have been easier – there was stability and relative predictability. There were also far fewer communication channels (e.g. in TV, radio and print), journalistic work wasn’t executed at such breakneck speed and attention spans were longer.
Times have changed, and “dramatically” would be an understatement. Hundreds of communication channels became thousands, then millions with the blog community; communication became instantaneous and instantaneously global; Gen Y (Millennials) entered the scene having only known life with a gadget in their hands; sound bites became character bites (no more than 140); recipients’ message absorption capacity decreased with a greater need for stimulation and interaction is increasingly digital instead of human-to-human. I could go on. Stating these facts is not meant necessarily as an indictment of them. To the contrary, there’s much good to be found in them – it’s simply recognizing that many aspects of communication have profoundly changed.
But through these decades, and for centuries prior, there remain constants in stories.
Stories will never go out of style. We humans often have the most engaging conversations when a story is shared: Around the dinner table. When there’s actually news. Sharing wisdom with a child or friend. Motivating a group to action. For entertainment and relaxation.
The same rule applies to business communication, too. The art of and need for storytelling – beyond a status update or picture share – is ageless. Involve any element of intrigue, protagonists and antagonists, humor, conflict or any of the universal themes we gravitate toward and your message will get across.
While distribution channels and methodology will continue to evolve, telling stories is a stalwart in conveying messages. Well-told stories capture attention, elicit emotion, engage the audience, provide relevance and inspire to action. For organizations, stories can connect and emotionally invest people in their brand.
Storytelling – just one of many constants in the sea of communication change. What’s your story?