HONEY, I SHRUNK THE NARRATIVE: CLUE FIVE FOR PR MANAGERS
Why is storytelling so powerful? It's engaging - emotive. Infused with personality. Which is why most B2B PR teams have evolved their own story in the last few years, using video and imagery to project their purpose and their vision.
Scripted narrative has been a mainstay of much PR content in social and web platforms. But it's one-way and somewhat authoritative tone are showing signs of shabbiness.
Not because there's something wrong with narrative.
But the scripting, the voice-over, the slickness - are perhaps acquiring an obsolescence now that interactive video is here, with viewer-defined narratives.
Further, businesses everywhere have a duty to build trust far beyond the authoritative voices of the third industrial revolution. The authoritative, confident one-way message is plainly trusted less today.
Audiences want to be heard, understood. In a dialogue. Narrative ducking - talking then listening - will allow that. Do your videos have ears? Ours do. Companies that listen and put customer-experience front and center win here. Talking and listening at the same time.
When you measure the steady global growth of interest in customer experience, you can feel the new epoch's beating heart. And it's relevant for all viewers - your audiences included. What we see mostly is a union of utility, emotion and competitive advantage. In themselves, that's far from new. But what's new is their impact on messaging.
Viewers want to go behind the scenes. Meet the technicians, understand the process. Feel the challenges, smell the reality. They want levers to pull, choices, conversation, interaction.
A polished inauthentic presentation isn't going to cut it in this environment.
Today, in the vast majority of company websites and socials, narrative is still pushing story down the throats of audiences. Strong and clear but unlistening. Autocratic. A whiff of 'we know best'.
"You talkin' to me?"'
Travis, Taxi Driver, 1976
But we're in the new epoch now. Narrative doesn't have to be preachy any more. Or linear. Or deaf.
The end of narrative? Certainly not. But dialogue, the listening voice, the interactive conversation - is in its ascendancy.
How to Pivot
Experience and choice are replacing the funnel way of thinking, in the outreach to audiences. Add this kind of approach into your PR experience. Increase your flywheel. This is how you develop a more interactive, listening approach.
In our firm, we're already capturing sentiment interactively, with new video players. Letting viewers define the storyflow. It's about listening, being generous in tone, bigger on ideas, bigger on actionability.
The narrative, though still present, has been ducked.
The new PR epoch is ushering in a welcome shift from the primacy of narrative to the primacy of idea-action. An idea that can be acted on.
About time, partner.
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