The Hollywood awards season sparks office pools and friendly debate about our favorite stories from the silver screen. These stories have compelling characters, conflict, climax and a resolution.

This type of storytelling is different from the storytelling getting so much attention from many marketing professionals.

In marketing, we often encounter a concept of storytelling that developed alongside content and thought leadership strategies—messaging aimed at succeeding in social media and winning over savvy customers.

It’s a way for an organization or corporation to tell their own story. It’s about defining a brand – its values and purpose – and showcasing the experience of engaging with that brand.

Brand stories – good ones – can connect with customers on an emotional level, but few would make a good movie.

Marketing professionals’ ideas about storytelling are evolving. There’s growing interest in the use of narrative storytelling to tell the stories that support the overarching brand story.

These stories follow a structure that includes a plot complete with conflict, climax, closure or resolution and a conclusion. They feature compelling characters and settings to give each piece context.

This kind of storytelling may be rooted in great works of fiction, but it also represents a journalistic approach.

A good story is about something the audience decides is interesting or important. A great story often does both by using storytelling to make important news interesting. – The American Press Institute

Stories with a central point, central evidence, central characters and a central place are most engaging, according to the American Press Institute.

This type of storytelling requires the teller to consider more than key messages. It forces consideration of how a story should be told, where it should be told and to whom. These stories can support a clear call to action.

Thinking of storytelling in this framework can avoid a common risk – trying to make one piece of content serve as all things to all people. It can also reinforce a strategy aimed at authenticity.

When discussing the next story to tell, listen for opportunities to feature characters and plots. It’s one way to highlight conflicts faced by your audience and show how your service and products factor into the resolution and conclusion.

All types of storytelling concepts have their place. We see 2019 bringing more thought and research into which style of storytelling to use when to engage an audience.

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