Once upon a time, there was a PR and marketing agency that decided to write a new short story every month — line by line, person by person, day by day.
With their stories, the group journeyed through haunted houses, different dimensions, far-off worlds and even time itself. The daily exercise quickly became a team-favorite activity, creating a family-like bond forged in words and wonder of where the latest tale would take them next.
Through regular efforts of crafting a complete tale — with rising action, climax and resolution — day after day, month after month, the ragtag group of storytellers learned much about themselves, what it means to tell a story well and how these lessons apply to their work in PR and marketing.
- The path is not always known: Every journey begins with one step, but sometimes the path that step sets you on is not fully known from the outset. This happens a lot in our stories: We start out in one place but end up somewhere completely unexpected. This is often the case with marketing, too. You may start with a particular positioning, campaign or approach, but as you proceed, things change. You learn important insights into your business, customers or products you didn’t know when you started. As a result, you pivot or shift your focus and end up somewhere better than expected.
- Clarity is critical: Although the overall trajectory of our stories may not always be apparent from the outset, we’ve found it’s critical to maintain clarity as the story builds and develops. Otherwise, characters, plot points and other story elements become jumbled and confusing. This is true for many companies’ PR and marketing initiatives, as well. Without clear, concise communication, efforts become muddled, audiences get confused, and, as a result, a business suffers.
- Keep an open mind: We all bring our own thoughts, styles, experiences and perceptions. These diverse mindsets and backgrounds can make it easy to disregard unfamiliar ideas or concepts that may not instantly click with our internal preferences. Our collaborative writing exercises have reinforced the importance of keeping an open mind. Sure, everyone has different opinions and preferences, but nobody knows everything. It’s the diversity of experiences, styles and mindsets that enrich our stories. This is particularly true in business, especially when, like any good story, markets and industries continually evolve and shift, requiring a new approach to challenges. Has your market position shifted due to changing expectations? Should you target a new client base different from your existing customers? Keeping an open mind and leaning into the diversity of your team will allow your organization to better respond to these and other potential changes while driving continued success.
- Things don’t always go as planned: Even if one of our stories appears to be building toward a particular endpoint or conclusion, all it takes is one unexpected twist to upend that expectation. This past year perfectly illustrates that things don’t always go as planned. Thanks to the pandemic, businesses across all industries saw their plans and perceived trajectories completely thrown off in critical ways. Certainly, we experience a slew of emotions when things don’t go as planned but learning to be adaptable and nimble in the face of unexpected twists and turns builds resilience, hones creativity and prepares us for the next narrative or business surprise.
Writing often is solitary work. It requires discipline, creativity and resilience. Sometimes you need a collaborative partner to create the perfect story. If you need help with your business story, the team at Aker Ink can work with you to craft and share your unique tale to drive business growth and success.