As children, we love being told stories, and if you think we stopped loving stories, you’d be wrong. Even as adults, when a brand tells a captivating story, we listen. Brand storytelling is a powerful tool, and tapping into people's emotions can evoke feelings of joy, sadness, excitement, nostalgia, and so much more. Sharing a compelling narrative can humanize a brand, and that’s part of the reason brand storytelling has become so popular in every part of the corporate world, including corporate events.
Fortunately, Bishop-McCann is an agency full of storytellers. We love to help our clients creatively tell their stories through events and use those stories to engage audiences and shape event outcomes. But what is brand storytelling, and how can it weave its way through your next corporate event?
- What Is Brand Storytelling?
- Why Brand Storytelling Is Important at Corporate Events
- When and Where to Include Stories at Corporate Events
- Top Tips for Brand Storytelling at Your Next Event
What Is Brand Storytelling?
Brand storytelling capitalizes on our love of storytelling and puts your brand at the center of that story. The goal is to create an emotional connection between your brand, your business, and your audience. In many cases, the audience is your customer, but the concept is equally effective with any audience.
Your brand’s story is reflective of the history of your organization and its goals. It should convey your values and how those values are an integral part of helping you succeed and reach those goals.
Why Brand Storytelling Is Important at Corporate Events
All successful corporate events start with one thing in common: a clear goal. Often, primary or ancillary goals of corporate events are an opportunity to create alignment among teams. Those teams may not work together often, or the meeting may simply be a yearly event to allow everyone to reconnect. One of the best ways to create these connections is by tapping into emotions and value alignment. Brand storytelling utilizes both.
The assumption is sometimes made that simply because individuals work together they share not just institutional knowledge but also an understanding of your business and what it stands for. However, brand storytelling at your corporate event can create real connections related to your business’s values and mission.
When and Where to Include Stories at Corporate Events
While there are some obvious answers here (meaning the opening and closing keynote speakers), the real answer is whenever and wherever possible. Like a well-told story that weaves in multiple elements, a corporate event that effectively uses brand storytelling considers that story a key aspect of all facets of your event.
For example, when choosing your event theme, you’ll want to consider the brand story. Is there an opportunity to include that story in your destination? Decor? Activations? Activities? Team-building efforts? Entertainment?
In the same way that you look for opportunities in your event to improve business performance, you should also seek to find opportunities to include the story that connects your team.
Top Tips For Brand Storytelling at Your Next Event
Of course, brand storytelling requires understanding the values and themes that occur in your business’s story, but beyond that, there are a few other tips you’ll want to consider.
Identify the Event’s Goal
Before you can even start to think about creating a story, you need to uncover the true purpose of the event. Is the program taking place to educate? Or is this an event that is meant to celebrate employees? Once you’ve determined the main reason for the event, you also need to identify any and all objectives of the program. Having a solid understanding of those goals will help guide your storytelling. You can then take that information and infuse it into the overall experience.
Tell the Real Story—It’s the Best Story
Once you’ve determined why your client is hosting their event, you can begin to weave your story into your plans. Now more than ever, people value transparency and honesty. It’s easy to tell when you are being genuine with your storytelling or when you’re stretching the truth. Instead of spinning a false tale, create a story that is authentic. People will connect with and appreciate your honesty.
Raise the Creative Bar
During the difficult times caused by COVID, event planners had to become extremely innovative with their virtual events in order to stay afloat. From this creativity and innovation came higher expectations from attendees. Now that they’ve seen incredible work, this established a new standard. So when you’re coming up with a story, think of ways to surprise and delight the audience, keeping them immersed in the event and the story. Whether that’s through the delivery of the content or the actual writing is up to you, but it’s imperative to ensure that your storytelling is successful.
Incorporate Surprises in Your Story
What’s the best part of any good story? Many people would say a surprise element, such as a twist ending. If everyone knew exactly how the story played out, why would they stick around to listen? That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re telling a story that has at least one surprising or interesting element incorporated. For example, tell a story that allows the audience to learn something new about your company or incorporate something or someone unexpected.
Utilize Shorter, More Succinct Content
It should come as no surprise to anyone these days that attention spans are shrinking. While this is true in the virtual landscape, even for in-person events, shorter content can have a greater impact. Make sure you get to the heart of your story quickly to keep them engaged. That means avoiding a long backstory unless you can keep it lively. Similarly, consider parsing out the story and delivering it over the course of the event, in short “episodes” that thematically fit into your sessions, workshops, or activities. While being succinct is necessary, make sure you don’t sacrifice quality when paring down.
Realize That On Demand Is In Demand
After you’ve taken the time to carefully craft a story that your audience will love, make sure that you give people the chance to listen to it—even if they hear it after it airs live. Making your brand’s story available to virtual attendees or those who couldn't make it to the event is beneficial. Consider how valuable that story is in conveying who you are not just to employees but to customers and how that content can be stretched for multiple audiences, such as social media or other marketing efforts.
Creating a compelling story will always be imperative. Your audience will be thankful to hear a story that doesn’t put them to sleep, and your customers will love how focused your team is on both story and message.
If you want to incorporate brand storytelling in your next corporate event, get in touch with the team who has experience in telling captivating stories for their audiences. At Bishop-McCann, we value our story and yours, and we would love the chance to help you tell it. Get in touch with us today!