Stephan Barrett from Rise talks Storytelling

September 17, 2012

The first iSummit session in the Content Strategies Room is “Storytelling in the digital age” presented by Stephan Barrett from Rise. Barrett believes that the future is in building a team to perform storytelling in the digital age. He put those into building his digital agency. According to Barrett, three things are important to using storytelling in your business. You have to know Why storytelling is important today; how to create your brand story; and how to tell your brand story.

Why is storytelling important today

There are 7 billion people, 5.1 billion own a cell phone (more than own a toothbrush 4.2 billion). This is producing a content explosion. To get heard, you have to build a relationship. Storytelling is important to building those relationships.

Brands are becoming anthropomorphized, meaning their story is making them more human. This helps with telling your story, but you have to be quick, no one has the time to go through a 3-part trilogy. Barrett believes you have to breakthrough the ‘streaming economy.’ The key to that is to have a great story.

Creating your brand story

What creates a great brand story? Personality, authenticity and transparency, and a unique point of view are the start. Barrett recommends the book “Start with Why.” People don’t by what you do, they buy why you do it . Make sure you’re telling your brand story in the right order.

Part of telling the brand story is building trust. Barrett says you build trust with four levels. It, aka your brand building block, has to be:
1) findable
2) usable
3) clear
4) compelling

Using these together builds trust, when the pieces don’t fit well, trust diminishes.

Telling your brand story

Know your audience. Your audience is no longer a stat. It’s people, multidimensional and diverse. Barrett suggests building audience personas to help clarify who you are speaking to. Your content comes organically from that and lets you test it and measure it.

I like the focus on storytelling because it’s a framework you can speak to other business people with, especially those involved in marketing. Barrett presented some great tools to use in your business to find those metrics to test against. And I believe that having a multi-talented team makes your storytelling stronger, even the best novelist doesn’t exist without an editor, fact checker, and favorite readers.

What is your story?

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