In my previous article I discussed the need for storytelling for social good brands and how it should be reflective of the role of an organization in the social impact ecosystem. Here, I want to provide a basic understanding of the elements of storytelling that impact entrepreneurs and marketing managers should be cognizant about.
Your social good brand signifies something striking about your social venture. Its identity can be defined in multiple ways. For example take Toms Shoes. It derives its brand identity from its unique cause. Called the ‘One for One’ model of impact Toms donates a pair of shoes for every pair you buy from them. Thus your social good brand can define itself based on your product or service innovation, your social impact model, the social cause espoused and even the charisma of your personal credibility.
Here are 4 types of stories your brand can convey depending not only your brand identity but also who is your audience. Here’s a quick template I created to identify which of these stories you should be telling as entrepreneurs and marketers.
Broadly speaking a story should have the following elements:
Context, Characters, Conflict & Resolution, Happy ending and Call to Action
Every story has a context. It is a prevailing situation or a set of circumstances that give rise to the story. A geographical location like a village or community could be the context. It could also be a specific socio-economic background or an event of significance for the story that can be a context. Context is the bedrock of the story and its importance to the tone and flow of the story cannot be overemphasized.
Saathi: Taking Healthcare To The Doorstep.. starts with a context of the place and the time of the day to give viewer a heads up into the specifics of the work schedule of a woman community health worker.
A story needs characters. These are mostly people and individuals that contribute to the story. They could be founders, employees, beneficiaries and key external persons to your organization. A character can also be an inanimate object like your product. Characters need to be introduced and defined. Each character brings a new perspective to the story.
The Green Force showcases multiple individuals in the course of the story. It has the founders of the venture, its operations manager, and waste management workers who offer different perspectives about the impact of waste management.
3.Conflict & Resolution
Conflict is an essential part of life. It motivates us to conquer pain and fight challenges. It is what makes a story dynamic and thrilling. Conflict in a social good story may arise due to myriad factors- disaster, social evils, economic adversity or anything that is an impediment to a better way of life. How we overcome a particular conflict is a testament to our imagination and innovation. It is in the resolution that the juice of story lies. It gives us a hope for a positive future.
The New Age Of The Biogas tells the story of a dairy farmer who bears negative consequences of using firewood in his kitchen and how he changes this situation by adopting a biogas system.
4. Happy Ending
Stories that end on a happy note always leave behind a good feeling with the viewer. It’s important to give a hope for better tomorrow to the viewer in spite of the formidable challenges. Good stories are positive stories.
Village Capital Education India 2016 Program ends on a happy note of bonhomie between the cohort members and the staff of Village Capital program. It shows that irrespective of the pressures of scaling their startups, entrepreneurs are just a bunch of people who have grown to like each other at the end of the program.
5. Call To Action
A story should move us and compel us to think on issues it espouses. However it should also goad us into executing a desired action. Effective and successful stories inspire their viewers to get up and act. The action could be anything that’s important to your organization- donations, volunteering, making sales etc.
Maan Ki Jeet ends with an exhortation by the protagonist of the short film to support him through a few ways of your choice.
Storytelling is an art. Telling your brand’s story needs you to understand some basics that stories are made of.