What can the creative industries teach the tech industry about engaging people and harnessing the power of storytelling?
After working in marketing and communications with multiple industries ranging from film, and big pharma all the way to startups, I can see a clear pattern of what businesses lack in their communication and why it constantly fails to convince and engage people.
Why companies are so boring to people, even if we’re excited about such magnificent innovations that could potentially save the world?
Companies are playing it safe and communicating in a too technical matter.
- People don’t understand the content and get exhausted by the terminology they don’t understand.
- The content does not offer anything new to the audience – it’s lukewarm and safe, and the audience ends up feeling nothing.
- Companies are still afraid to have an identity, a personal voice, and opinions. There are expectations of course, but overall, corporations are afraid of showing which values they stand behind. It makes it very hard for people to know if they can trust the company or not.
- Many tech companies, especially startups, tend to be in their field’s terminological bubble and ignore the fact that when we try to move the masses, we need to take communication to the level of the masses. This happens by ensuring that their audience understands what the company is doing and for whom.
- Even when a tech company knows its key audience, they often still use too narrow terminology and forget to generalise. They forget that key decision-makers are also human and have various backgrounds, leading to various interpretations.
Diving to the core – Let’s learn from the creative fields
Firstly, why should we even look at the creative industries, like filmmakers, musicians, or painters?
- Because their product – the album, the artist, the film – always relies on personal brand, genuine connection, and relatability with the artists and the cast.
You know the actors or at least some of them, and even when you don’t, if the plot intrigues you, you may just find yourself feeling connected to a character and then to a certain actor as you start watching. You end up building an emotional bond with the team and the product.
- Their product is the people. The film or the album is not the same when done by a different team, and this same applies to startups.
That’s why a band is never the same when a member leaves. It’s a unique combination where a magic element is lost when a player is changed. People create social dynamics and ideas in unique combinations. People are what make the companies, and the companies exist to solve a problem of the people.
Employees, leaders, and customers’ voices have now become the factors that create traffic, credibility, and trust.
- No one trusts companies anymore in the era of social media influencers, where we can relate to the person who may stand behind a brand.
A person stands behind a brand because of shared values. If we can identify through a person certain values, it’s easier to relate to a company. Because those are people we can trust, who show a glimpse of who is behind the utterly boring corporate image. That’s why the voices of employees are more important than ever.
- Two-way communication and cherishing word-of-mouth.
We see more and more representations of real-life celebrities who are no longer beyond our reach, but they’re close to us through social media through two-way communication. To really have a product that sells, you should try to empathize and care about what your target customers have to say.
It’s about mutual and two-way communication where you don’t assume, but you listen and react when you get feedback. Most filmmakers and artists can hardly ever rely on their album or film selling forever. They have to replicate the success and keep nurturing their networks and audiences.
Empathize and care about what your target customers have to say. It’s about mutual and two-way communication where you don’t assume, but you listen and react when you get feedback.
- Be general enough and communicate through relief. You may have come up with the idea from your true experience and a need to fix something, but as everyone’s experience is always different, think of ways to generalize.
Think of ways to communicate through the benefit that your product or services have to your target customers. You don’t even have to explain how things work, but more important is to explain how you help and what can be achieved. Communicate through the relief and the experience you can create. Communicate through emotions.
More important than how something works, is to explain how you can help and what can be achieved. Communicate through the relief.
- Engage the community and create a sense of ownership. If people feel like they were a part of what you did, they are more likely to support you throughout your journey. This is also very essential in the case of DAOs, where the ideology of decentralisation, community, togetherness, and democracy are at the core. DAOs are attractive because everyone has a deep desire to have a purpose and participate and DAOs offer this opportunity.
To put it short – show your genuine values, and your genuine personality and share you deeply, a truthful story to create a real connection with your target customers, your fans, and your audience.
This article was originally published on my LinkedIn Newsletter – Storytelling For Startups.