People love a good story. Although facts and figures are essential components of reporting in business, they fall short when it comes time to sharing impact and results with internal and external stakeholders. The best way to share information is through storytelling. Stories are better than data on its own because they invoke an emotional response. Sometimes stories can be powerful enough to spur people to take action, causing people to devote their time and even entire lives to create change or impact in some area. Stories have so much more substance than a set of facts or a spreadsheet of data.
This is an important fact to keep in mind as a company. In order to develop an employer brand, you can leverage storytelling to give consumers and employees an idea of what your workplace is like. What is the culture like at your company? What makes your company different from your competitors? It’s difficult for people to understand these things without story.
So, how do you tell a story that drives results?
Tip #1- Be Authentic
You can pretend that your company does awesome things, but ultimately you have to walk the walk in order for your stories to invoke the response that you intend them to. Let’s face it, if you’re sharing that your company is doing one thing, and people have witnessed or heard tell about something different, it can actually do more harm than good.
If you don’t do the work, the stories won’t happen. The most important thing is that you actually create stories by doing great things. Implement a set of policies or programs that formalize your activities that drive impact. This level of commitment will ensure consistency throughout your activities.
Tip #2- Involve Employees
Consumer trust is low, especially when a message is being delivered directly from a company. In order to increase the likelihood that your stories will be well received, give your employees a platform and voice to share their authentic opinions and stories. Develop programs that encourage employees to get involved in your impact programs. Recognize their involvement and then share these stories. Employee advocacy is one of the greatest forms of marketing. By creating a workplace that employees are proud to work for, they will gladly share this with their networks. The earned media that your company can receive by welcoming employee advocacy is pretty extraordinary.
Tip #3- Be Descriptive
In order for your story to resonate with people, incorporate a picture, a few key metrics, and a description. The description is key because it sheds light on the details that people are looking for. When you look at a company’s annual report or Corporate Social Responsibility report, they’re often packed with graphs and data. Real examples of people taking action can mean so much more than a dollar amount and the name of a receiving organization on its own. Answer the 5 W’s: Who, What, Where, Why & When. It seems obvious, but by including answers to these questions, you will considerably improve the quality of your stories.