• How corporate affairs communication changes with storytelling

    The general public is now much more savvy than in the past, meaning corporate affairs communications need to evolve to reflect what people want to see, hear and – most importantly – share.

    In fact, the most notable threats to traditional public communication strategies can also be recipes for success. With social media now a key factor in omnichannel strategies, businesses have a number of tools they can use to create and distribute content that communicates their key messages in a way that engages the general public. 

    The concept of storytelling in particular is infiltrating a range of industries across Australia and could be a worthy platform for the communication of corporate social responsibility (CSR) concerns or other essential messages. 

    Can storytelling shape business communication?

    While some will dismiss storytelling as yet another distracting buzzword, the concepts behind the term are sound. Broadly speaking, storytelling for businesses involves creating a cohesive narrative and framework for their public communications. 

    In these instances, creating a narrative is key to fostering engagement, as it gives people a story to follow. By aligning these strategies with concerns such as corporate social responsibility, organisations can give consumers the chance to learn through entertainment, hopefully creating a positive perception of an organisation in the process. 

    According to a 2013 article published on Marketing Week, the keys to enterprise storytelling involve bringing engaging content, emotion and shared values into the communication process in a way that differentiates them from their competitors. 

    How can businesses achieve this?

    US restaurant chain Chipotle provided a valuable example for other businesses looking to emulate these strategies, with a 2013 video entitled The Scarecrow, which more closely resembled a short film than usual company videos.

    The film told the story of the titular character realising there is more value in fresh and free range produce than factory produced alternatives, linking the narrative back to values the company instils in its own supply chain and operating procedures.

    What's the link with CSR objectives?

    The responsibilities of Australia's organisations have evolved beyond simply financial objectives, with CSR now an integral part of many enterprise communication strategies. 

    PR Newswire noted that storytelling provides businesses with a broader set of tools when it comes to communicating CSR values. As Chipotle's campaign demonstrated, engaging and shareable video content is an important feature, along with other visual media such as infographics. 

    Ultimately, while some will declare storytelling a trend, many past examples have proven its value to consumers and businesses alike, suggesting it could be here to stay.

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