Kindra Hall is an enthusiastic storytelling expert from Arizona, USA, on a mission to help advertisers and brands create better stories that would engage consumers in a meaningful and memorable way. What is a good story? Where can brands search for compelling stories? What is strategic storytelling and why is it so powerful? These are the questions that she will address at the media trends conference SEMPL.
Why has storytelling become so popular in recent years?
For a long time business and therefore marketing and sales was focused more on transactional things, i.e. how much thing costs, what are its features and benefits… With the introduction and the shift towards social media, consumers feel they are entitled to know more about brands. They are not just buying things based on what the thing will do or how much it will cost, but they are buying the whole persona of a brand or a company. Accordingly, brands have also made this shift towards telling stories. I think that's why the word storytelling has reached this buzzword status.
How does storytelling help advertisers to get people's attention and to even increase their sales and profits?
In the end, your story is your differentiator. Each company, brand or product has a story of why it was born and how did it all begin, and that is your differentiator. If you are not telling this story and you are just looking to everyone else what are they doing and how are they communicating what they do, everything just starts to sound the same. Advertisers should start to tell a different story that really stands out.
What is a good story actually? What elements does it have to encompass to capture people's minds?
This is one of the things that I will talk about in my presentation, so I don't want to reveal too much (laugh). The problem is, since storytelling has reached this buzzword status, there are a lot of things that are passing as stories. A lot of times there are just talented copywriters who can put together a really good copy or talented designers who create a really good infographic. But these aren't actually stories at the core of what the story is, what humans share as stories to connect with each other. This means that advertisers and brands are not able to fully maximize the power of storytelling.
Very basically, a story has a beginning, a middle and an end. But these elements don't give you enough to go on, so you have to think about these pieces of story differently and put them together in a more compelling way that really drives emotion and people in. How you approach these simple parts of the story makes all the difference. But I will tell you more about it at SEMPL; you will have to wait and see (laugh).
Where can brands find and search for stories that would enable them to stand out?
I think the most important thing that brands and advertisers can do is to look for moments. Oftentimes people are looking for more extensive set of circumstances or information and they try to cover a lot of ground, whether it is information on something one can do, or they try to give a lot of testaments about the product, but they should rather drive a story to one moment and building out on that one moment. I will share a lot of applicable strategies of finding the actual stories at SEMPL.
At the SEMPL conference in Slovenia you will be speaking about the power of strategic storytelling. What will be your key message to the audience?
I will stress that strategic storytelling requires effort and work. The reason that more brands are not using or doing it well is because it is harder than it looks; telling stories is harder than it seems. But it is worth it, if you choose to invest enough time and skills. I will share some research that shows why storytelling is the most effective strategy to use, and secondly what the story really is.
And finally I really want to make sure that everyone gets things they can act on – strategies for finding stories, strategies for crafting compelling stories and to master different ways they can tell them. And the most important thing is that they switch on the storytelling default instead of just sharing information.
This year's SEMPL is a story about 1,000 satisfied visitors, a story about a full conference hall, many inspiring seminars and presentations, a story about new ideas and knowledge, new business contacts, great party and you. If you were with us, you know what we talk about – and if you were not, you will come next year.
Eight Golden Awards and the Grand Prix award were awarded at the fourteenth competition at the regional Sempler Awards competition. Slovenian creative agency Luna\TBWA won the Grand Sempler for the best media strategy of the year for the campaign "Laško Duel", which was created and executed for Pivovarna Laško Union.
A nine-member international jury for the fourteenth Sempler Awards Competition for the best media strategies of the year selected 34 finalists from all the entries. 25 shortlisted entries are from Slovenia, 4 from Croatia, 3 from Serbia and 2 from Bosnia and Herzegovina.