Among many of the lessons I learned at this year’s Annual Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) Conference, the value of storytelling and balancing brand with business was emphasized by Danya Proud, director of U.S. media relations, McDonald’s.
Danya asked the conference attendees to consider two questions that would make their own storytelling valuable: Why should the people you are telling care? What about the story will make them want to share it?
I agree with Danya’s statement that “people believe people, not corporations.” In fact, the stories you trust from your friends may truly shape your perception of the brand, as these stories are often viewed as authentic. Danya continued that, “Stories provide experience; they are the emotional glue that hold things together.”
For professionals who help shape a brand’s image…
- Know your business and your audience.
- Talk to your customers. Danya suggests that we do less talking at (commercials, press releases, marketing) and do more talking with.
- Stay involved! People are creating their own dialogue and these stories are told no matter what and can even weigh more heavily on the brand than your own PR efforts. So, listen to what people are saying and participate in two-way dialogue through social media and active media engagements.
- Tell your story often and well. People need to hear a message three to five times before they believe it.
- Become a resource. People follow 75 percent of what they hear through stories and only 5 – 10 percent through facts. While you cannot change the perception of everyone, it’s your responsibility to help share information.
Brand trust doesn’t just result from a brand showing support. “Doing good” is not enough anymore. For example, McDonald’s is now expected to be involved in community and now makes huge efforts to be involved in communities on a local level while promoting healthy eating habits. This involvement will add to their story. These efforts can be viewed by their target audience of 18-34 year olds (a generation that is often stereotyped as not trusting corporate American, but who also reads and listens to everything in The Media) as genuine, positive, and ultimately result in storytelling based on experience, rather than ads.
Need help tailoring your storytelling for the digital age? Attend Johna Burke’s, senior vice president marketing and sales, BurrellesLuce, workshop at this year’s PRSA 2011 International Conference in Orlando on October 15 – 18. Saver Rate Deadline is August 26, 2011.
After receiving a B.A. in communications, and briefly working at a TV production studio, Andrea began volunteering abroad. This lead her to work in the non-profit world, where she was fortunate enough to learn about international education, women’s empowerment and social issues for the elderly, while traveling to over a dozen countries. Since joining BurrellesLuce in 2011, Andrea is excited to share her thoughts and views on branding, social media, and communications with the growing Fresh Ideas audience, as well as her passion for cultural awareness, volunteerism, and sustainable efforts. Twitter: @AndreaCorbo; Facebook: BurrellesLuce