31st January 2023
Learn why storytelling is important, and how it can be used as a force for good.
Human beings have been telling stories since the beginning of time, and storytelling has always been an effective way to connect people and build empathy. They can capture people’s attention and make it easier to process information.
Have you ever gotten lost in a favorite book or movie, to the point where the world around you disappears? This is known as Narrative Transportation, and research has shown that when someone is transported into a story, they become more emotionally engaged and are more willing to change their beliefs.
As emotions impact decision-making far more than data alone, by sharing stories, we can create a sense of shared experience and understanding. This is especially important when it comes to promoting sustainable practices and values, which can create a sense of shared responsibility and inspire people to take action.
This video from Grove Collaborative is a great example of using storytelling to introduce the consumer to the company, while also showcasing its commitment to sustainability and the environment.
The video without any proof would just be greenwashing. In order to be transparent, they have a sustainability page on their website showcasing their commitment to sustainability. They also back this up with an annual sustainability report showing their impact, and how they plan to improve it.
Character-driven films are much more relatable and great at connecting with your audience emotionally and transporting them into your world.
John Lewis, a UK-based retailer is well known for this, and last year’s holiday ad was no exception. By focusing on a strong, relatable character, the audience can often picture themselves in the character’s shoes and so follow them on their journey. This leads to higher engagement for your brand.
While not sustainability-related, this video does highlight how they’re using their business for good and there are a lot of lessons to be taken away from this video that can be applied to your business.
An older video (but still a great one, and one of my favorites) from Epuron about Mr W. Another great character driven story.
This example immediately draws you into Mr W’s world, almost feeling sorry for him. Without giving away too much, this video is very well executed with a great, feel-good ending.
Father Christmas and Mother Earth
Last, but certainly not least, is this great video from Posten, Norway’s leading postal service. Their ‘Father Christmas and Mother Earth’ follows two character’s journey, carefully portrayed in a way that is very relatable.
The video does a great job of acknowledging the company’s role in fafacilitating overconsumption, and how they’re trying to fix it. They’re building trust through vulnerability, by recognizing that they are part of the problem. They’re also being transparent about their sustainability goals and showing how they plan to meet them.
When using storytelling to create positive social and environmental impact, it’s important to keep a few key things in mind:
Do you use storytelling in your business? If you’re interested in learning more about how you can use storytelling to elevate your business, get in touch!