A video called “Reunion” produced by Google was presented before opening up the first trigger of our PBL discussions. It was brought up in the discussion that the video did not focus on Google’s image, although there was the help from Google search engine in the video, it is clearly seen that the main purpose was to deliver a touching message about friendship to the audience.
The team identified the problem to be: “How can a corporation inspire or share their message most effectively by story telling?”
Three learning objectives were created based on the problem:
- What are the elements of good corporate stories?
- What are the most effective corporate communication channels?
- What is the target audience of the corporations?
I started my studies about the topic by first reflecting my own personal experiences about corporate storytelling, and what I feel like have been the best and most influential corporate stories. From my personal experience, I think good corporate stories are always the ones that have had an emotional and personal impact on me. I feel like the most important thing is to make the corporate story memorable and different from all the other thousand stories and create emotions in its target audience. One corporate story immediately came to my mind about parents who had lost a daughter to cancer, and created a company that provides machines which can track cancer. I think many good corporate stories are founder centric meaning founders themselves have suffered from an issue they create solution to.
I found a good article from forbes.com called: “What Does It Take To Tell A Successful Corporate Story In 2015?”which brought up good points about elements you should have in your corporate story. The most important ones were:
- Your story has to be more compelling than the alternatives and thousands of other stories
- Story should have a bias toward happy ending
- You have to tell your story in more and more compressed ways, it’s impossible to tell a story in couple seconds
- Still the story should be enough simple
Next good source that I found related to the first learning objective was corporatestoryteller.com. Based on the article, the big idea that is the basis of the business plan of the company (the companys’ reason to be there) should be the basis of the corporate story as well. It was also said that you should not say “we provide exceptional customer service” or anything like that, what your competitors either do the same thing or say they do, that corporate storytelling should be deeper and reflect the core principles that define a company and its personality. Unique qualities that define you from your competitor should be part of the story. Like the special design, functionality of for example what American express have is that they have the benefits of “membership” and service that define them from others. The core principle of corporate storytelling is that corporate story should tell what your company stands for, and how it’s making the world a better place.
Based on article from zdnet.com, the narrative is the thing in storytelling. They identified the following elements that allow for the development of a corporate narrative:
- The company’s vision, ethos and founding principles;
- The company’s messages, themes and aspirational elements;
The company story should tell what the company is giving to the world: your products, services and your actions.
European business review brought up a framework for organisational storytelling. Successful storytelling for businesses is authentic and fluent. At its foundation, corporate storytelling should be authentic, credible, realistic, tangible, fluent and intended to be truthful. Storytelling should draw the attention of stakeholders by engaging their emotions and intellect, using technology (Anything from photographs to social media).
For the second learning objective I found the best channels to share your corporate story is through: Commercials, brochures, white papers, case studies, web sites, company history, presentations, change management, training. Social media, e-mail, videos. As an example about internal storytelling, I know Elon Musk emails to his employees often sharing stories that inspires them.
For the third learning objective, I found out that the target audience of the corporations in corporate storytelling are the stakeholders which are: customers, employees, investors, partners and vendors. I also found out that even competitors are important target audience.