4 Elements of Extraordinary Storytelling

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"Storytelling is what gets people engrossed," says GE'S Andy Goldberg.
"Storytelling is what gets people engrossed," says GE'S Andy Goldberg.

Andy Goldberg, global creative director for GE, understands the value of a good story. “People loved Shakespeare because of the way he wrote a story,” he explains. “And in today's world [of] advertising and content production and development, storytelling is what gets people engrossed and engaged to understand what something might be.”

But telling stories through data can be challenging, especially when it involves making intricate and complex concepts—like the Industrial Internet—easily understandable. Here are four ways Goldberg says marketers can evolve their storytelling to ensure that their brands live happily ever after.

Don't just tell, storytell: [Our work] really captured people's imagination….Back to the Future is 30 years old, but it stills creates a memory and creates a connection point. It gets people excited about something; same with Agent Smith. People have a passion about this. And when you tap into those passions, it gets people to talk about it and it gets people excited. You need to harness those emotions more and…storytell, you don't want to just tell; great movies and great books…storytell. They lead you along. They pull you in. They engage you, [and] they enthrall you.

Carry your story throughout: Everything has to complement each other, [and] everything has to work together to enrapture someone. Someone might just engage with our Instagram feed and then all of a sudden they see some of the other stuff that we're doing—whether it's a blog, or GE Reports, or our Twitter feed. Now, they have multiple touchpoints. It's getting them engaged in one piece of our communications flow and then trying to get them excited about some other things that we're doing.

Let data enhance your story: You can use data to enhance that story and make it better by finding out what's going to resonate more, what important points you want to touch on, and what you want to tap into.

Constantly optimize: You can have the Big Data talk. But if you're not applying it and using it in ways that are going to change how the system is working or what the data is providing, then it's just data and it's not doing anything for you. Also, you have to build on the data. You have to go where the latest data is, as well. You have to continue to evolve. You can't just rest on data from a year ago and say, “That's what I learned.” You have to find out what the new data is providing and continue to optimize.

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