When I started this blog I promised myself I would not use it to rant. And I have been good for soo many months it is time to break my rule. You see, I have (obviously) been reading a lot about storytelling the over past few years and recently way too many people are writing about The Corporate Story. The Corporate Story is a lie!
Marketeers (probably driven by those Social Media Gurus/Ninjas) have heard that storytelling really *is* the silver bullet we have been hoping for. And now everything is a story. So what could possibly be more powerful that regular storytelling? Oh I know! Visual storytelling! So you take the dribble that used to be your corporate mission statement, have it read by a voice-over in the most monotone voice possible, while showing either cheap animations or carefully choreographed video and call it a Corporate Story. Amazeballs.
Just in case you do not believe me, here are some excruciating examples:
Exhibit A: The Whirlpool Corporate Story
Exhibit B: TU Delft Corporate Story
And and last, but certainly not at least, Exhibit C: Corel Corporate Story
They are not stories by any stretch of the imagination or definition of a story. There is no-one to empathise with, no challenges, no emotions.
And that is very understandable, because just in case you have not noticed, corporations have no emotions. They do not wake up one day not wanting to go to work. They are not nearly paralysed by fear when taking the big step out of their comfort zones, and they do not feel a rush when meeting a lover after a few weeks apart.
So what are you to do the next time your Storytelling Pirate Coach comes in with the storyboard of your next Youtube ad that really is going to go viral this time? Tell him the Corporate Story is a lie. That there is not one. Tell him to go talk to your employees, to your customers, to your suppliers and to all the other people whose lives you touched. Start collecting and telling those stories. Especially the stories that are in line with your strategy, vision and values. There are no Corporate Stories, only stories about your corporation.
Oh and tell him or her to watch how Coca-Cola is working with customer stories in these short instructional clips. It is an extremely well-thought out presentation on why and how to work with stories in a marketing setting.
And then watch how they put it all into practice in the amazing “Share a Coke” Campaign