OPINION18 March 2013

It’s how you tell them

Opinion

As an industry, we need to invest as much time in developing relationships and talking to one another as we do in creating new methods to push our story, says Caroline Florence.

In my last column, ‘The hero’s journey’, I outlined the need for insight stories that offer foresight and argued the case for immersing ourselves in the wider business context to provide a clear and commercially feasible roadmap. But once we have our compelling story, how can we be sure it will connect with the audience to drive decisions and inspire actions? Do we really need a paradigm shift, or do we simply need to remind ourselves of how good communication really works?

“A push-only approach to promoting our story is no longer fit for purpose in the connected world in which we operate. In the battle for cut-through it is important that we make connections with individuals who want to hear our story – employing pull strategies as well as push”

Insight communication often follows a traditional push marketing approach. In the not so distant past our default communication tool was a PowerPoint presentation that pushed the message that we wanted the audience to hear. With the rise in investment in multi-media and graphic resources and technological platforms, more and more of us in the industry are understanding the need to diversify the way we get our message across. Infographics, content marketing via videos and microsites, and data platforms are all becoming (albeit quite slowly) part of the insight communication offer to help bring the stories to life. However, with the need to commercialise the use of these tools within ever squeezed budgets and timeframes, we run the risk that they become just another form of push marketing that fails to connect the audience to our story.

A push-only approach to promoting our story is no longer fit for purpose in the connected world in which we operate. In a world of Spotify and peer-to-peer networking where people are choosing what they are exposed to and prepared to listen to, we need to remind ourselves that good communication has always put the audience at the centre. In the continuing battle for cut-through it is even more important that we make connections with key individuals who want to hear our story – employing pull communication strategies as well as push.

Connecting with others does not require a paradigm shift for our industry, but in fact a return to what has always been the case: the need to engage with individuals and generate a dialogue. The key to connecting to people is to know them; know how our hero’s journey relates to them, how they can help them on their journey, and why they care about the outcomes. For all the advances we have made, the power of a dialogue is as important now in our connected world as it ever was, because it is through this dialogue that we enable stories to be shared, evolved and spread.

Therefore as an industry we need to invest as much time in developing relationships and talking to one another as we do in creating new methods to push our story. By creating a demand for our story through word of mouth and relationship management we will make more effective connections that lead to decision making and action taking.

Caroline Florence is the founder of Insight Narrator. Florence is conducting an interactive workshop using gameplay to create commercial narratives at MRS Annual Conference on 20 March. More details at www.mrsannualconference.com.

1 Comment

7 years ago

Caroline - wholeheartedly agree with your piece from an analysis POV, not so sure about exactly what you are advocating though. WOM and Relationship management will easily slip into traditional comm modes - a press release maybe, video with amusing content posted on You Tube to go viral perhaps, and then someone trying to engage with clients more frequently. Surely we need to go much further than that?

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