OUR THINKING/ARTICLE

How storytelling frameworks help you engage your audience

Ben Harrison

Storytelling is a vital tool for sustaining attention. Our brains are hardwired for narrative, so stories are one of the most powerful ways to engage an audience and show an advantage. Stories keep people interested because they contain mystery: the audience wants to know the outcome because they have a gap in their knowledge. They also usually have an emotional element: we care about the protagonist and want to know what will happen to them.

By sustaining interest through storytelling, you have the time and opportunity to put forward your arguments. You can show you audience a journey from A to B that outlines the advantages of getting to the destination and the steps they need to take to reach it.

Storytelling frameworks to use in B2B content

Good stories follow frameworks, and storytelling frameworks apply just as much to B2B content as they do to novels or cinema. Well-known examples include the Pixar framework (think Toy Story and most Disney movies) or the hero’s journey/monomyth framework (think Star Wars or Harry Potter).

These frameworks have their own characteristics but follow a similar trajectory, as shown here.

Storytelling framework based on the hero’s journey

This framework works as well for B2B content as it does for Toy Story or Star Wars. Opposite is an example where the topic is sustainability and the audience (and hero) is CEOs of large organisations.

Following the arc of a story framework like this is a tried and tested way of sustaining your audience’s attention, getting your message across and ensuring it sticks. This helps you show the advantage, even when messages are quite nuanced and require time to explain.

 

Storytelling example for a sustainability campaign

 

This article draws on the insights from our latest ebook: Influence and Impact.

For more details and to see examples of the points above in action, download your copy of Influence and impact here.

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About the author: Ben Harrison

As marketing executive, Ben leads various marketing activities such as the firm’s social media effort, our always-on content programme, and all aspects of the website – from maintenance to re-designs. He also manages the department’s tech stack, delivering an increasingly seamless experience from marketing all the way through to the sales team.

Ben also contributes to the marketing team’s overall strategy and goals, helping to plan, execute and effectively measure all our content and engagement that push the firm towards brand- and commercial-oriented goals.

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