Three tips for telling great brand stories through public relations

Everyone has said to someone, “I have a story to tell you.” Our brains are hardwired to tell and listen to interesting stories, not just facts or data.

 

Public relations professionals discuss storytelling all the time and do it every day, yet the term seems to have evolved into a buzzword in our industry. So, how do you define brand storytelling in PR?

 

At Dittoe PR, we are strong believers that every brand, company and founder have a compelling story to share. From advice on bolstering employee engagement to the proper disposal of pharmaceutical waste, every company can and should be an expert within their industry through brand storytelling. With diligent research and an eye for tying in relevant news angles (i.e. newsjacking), we specialize in developing compelling story angles to regularly generate prominent media coverage for our clients.

 

The tips below demonstrate the power of storytelling in PR and what it really means to tell stories on behalf of a brand.

 

The best brand stories are, in fact, stories.

At Dittoe PR, we pitch stories – not companies, products or services. We don’t tell stories that blatantly sell. For example, we recently successfully pitched a story about an Indianapolis father raising awareness and funds to help people, including his daughter, who are suffering from an incurable disease.

 

Storytelling was the most important part of this project. Our goal wasn’t just to land media hits, but to tell an extensive story – written by the perfect reporter – with the goal of reaching readers who will act. While collecting donations was one of the primary goals of the media relations campaign, building awareness about the disease was also a priority the client wouldn’t have been able to achieve without a customized pitch to tell this story. The story landed the front page of The Indianapolis Star, a top 100 newspaper.

 

The best brand stories initiate social change.

Another extraordinary example of successful brand storytelling was Lonely Whale’s Strawless in Seattle campaign.

 

Although the month-long campaign generated nearly 250 stories in the media and an advertising equivalency of close to $3 million, on a social impact level, Strawless in Seattle was ultimately more successful than the team ever imagined. As a result of the campaign, the city of Seattle announced they were banning plastic straws effective July 1, 2018. This summer, we’ve obviously seen a huge domino effect of companies and other cities doing the same.

 

The best brand stories bring real results for clients.

Through media hits, giveaways and influencer stories, PR and social media, storytelling positions Ironworks Hotel Indy as a trendy Indianapolis travel destination. This strategy has significantly boosted the hotel’s social interactions and followers across all platforms. When a local Indianapolis social influencer hosted a giveaway on her Instagram page for an Ironworks giveaway, the hotel gained nearly 400 followers in one day.

 

The metrics gained as a result of PR efforts are the best way to know where our stories are being told well. When PR pros tell compelling client stories to the right reporters at the right publication, their clients reach the right audience. That, in turn, engages with the brand and increases positive brand awareness and/or action.

 

Ready for us to tell your brand’s story? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com, or request a consultation today.

Does Your Startup Have a Story?

“Startups that are failing tend to be struggling to tell a compelling story.”

Last week, the Dittoe Public Relations team was given the opportunity to take a front row seat as hundreds of entrepreneurs, founders and creative technologists from across the country converged on Indianapolis for the city’s first startup conference, The Powder Keg.

The Powder Keg introduced something brand new to Indianapolis by creating a series of events that exemplified the spirit of entrepreneurship: sharing and leveraging the power of perspective shifting ideas so they can spread as widely and effectively as possible.

The entrepreneur community in Indianapolis (and across the Midwest) is itself an early-stage startup, but The Powder Keg proved without a shadow of a doubt that entrepreneurial energy and momentum are no longer limited to coastal tech hubs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, how can Indianapolis and other cities throughout the Midwest join the ranks of San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Boston as centers of creation and innovation?

Tell better stories.

Throughout The Powder Keg, an interesting theme emerged as presenter after presenter took the stage and stressed the importance of telling your company’s story.

Nobody articulated the importance of storytelling better than Scott Case, founding CTO of Priceline and CEO of Startup America Partnership: “Startups that are failing tend to be struggling to tell a compelling story.”

In the startup world, the creation of a story can seem trivial when compared to the creation of a product or service, and the notion of storytelling can seem intimidating as it often conveys a very complicated process. As a result, startups often forgo the storytelling process so they can continue focusing on building and improving their product or service.

Now, don’t get me wrong, having a finished, easy-to-use product that delivers what it promises is critical. But a well-made product or useful service is not a story, and there is no shortage of great products and services that nobody has ever heard of.

A story is something that conveys information, ideas, emotion and context in an original and engaging manner. By itself, a startup does not provide context or convey emotion; it is merely a provider of a product, service or idea.

Sometimes, founders and entrepreneurs can be so invested in ensuring their startup’s success that they forget to consider the big picture: “What does this mean to those who aren’t invested (financially or emotionally) in our company?” “How does this new product change or improve upon something that has already been done?”

The amazing thing about early-stage startups is that every one of them has a story. And, having worked with more than a few, I can tell you that startup stories are some of the most entertaining ones you’ll ever hear.

Never underestimate the importance of just telling a good story. To make others care about your company or idea—whether you’re pitching your startup to potential investors, clients, partners and journalists, or just conversing with friends and family— you need to engage them with a story that conveys information, ideas, emotion and context.

What’s your startup’s story?

 

A big thanks to Matt Hunckler and the Verge community for hosting The Powder Keg and Startup Bowl!