We’re hardwired as human beings to learn about life through stories. It is our best tool of communication, able to not only capture moments in the past, but also inspire us to live our lives with purpose. But storytelling’s magic isn’t limited to dinner parties and motivational speeches: we can also use storytelling to captivate in designing products, writing corporate communication and building public relation strategies.
Amy Kunrojpanya, Vice President of Communications at Netflix, shared her passion for the power of storytelling at NewCampus’s Power Lunch Hour: “Stories are about a universal sense of connection...how can we be truly compelling so that we can capture someone's heart, and also perhaps their mind and maybe even their wallet?”
For Amy, storytelling is a powerful tool for businesses to adopt, and shared three strategies to get the most media coverage for your brand or product.
When it comes to making sure our consumer is paying the highest attention to our stories, it is better to show than to tell, especially so for technology-based startups.
Compared to other businesses, people are more keen to experience the products and services of tech startups first-hand, and what the startup says about their product does not matter as much as what the product actually does.
So, the next time you have a tech journalist or a blogger writing up a story for your latest product release, Amy advises that instead of handing them a written press release, show them a demo, and give them a first-hand experience that will land you a great story.
The same advice applies to regular customers, too, if we want them to talk and reshare stories about the product. Stories on our service as a way for people to connect, because they drive conversations once we get off the screens, and we get into real-life conversations.
Offering a direct experience of your product lets the quality of the content speak for itself in sparking a conversation. There is authenticity, there is art, and there is human interaction.
Messages take time to sink in, especially in today’s noisy social media environment, and we are bombarded with information coming at us. Yet that is exactly why the most effective communicators repeat the same message, over and over again.
The trick is to find creative and interesting ways of communicating the same message, especially in today’s time when people might be feeling isolated or polarised.
In the case of Netflix, the company believes that stories can come from anywhere and be loved everywhere. So, the main message that Netflix wants to reiterate to their users, Amy shared, is that they want to remind people of how interconnected their lives are through stories.
It might sound paradoxical but when Netflix showcased a diverse range of stories—whether it was from a film, a series, a documentary or even animation—they found that people around the world enjoy more of the same stories than they had expected.
For Amy, the finding that people from all over the world enjoy many of the same things is an important message to repeat over and over again, especially so when people increasingly feel isolated, or when they're feeling polarised by different things going on in their society.
So, repeat after us: repetition never spoils the prayer.
If you’re a PR professional, you might have been accused of spinning stories, and it is a bad practice which Amy hopes to see less of.
What usually gives a story substance and depth, Amy shared, is to have ample data that supports your narrative. For example, a piece merely littered with references to how great a company and its solutions are is not going to fly with most publications.
Instead, if you wish for your company to appear good under the light of media coverage, you’d want to create and share stories that are grounded by what Amy calls “intellectually-rooted arguments”—narratives that have both reason and emotion.
Stories like these not only sustain your user’s attention, but earn credibility and their trust as well.
These days, consumers are savvy and know what to look for. And if a story lacks substance, your communications, as Amy puts it, will fall flat.
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