How to write magical stories that are really effective!

A whole day of storytelling power in Berlin! What “ingredients” make for a good story? How do I make sure my stories reach exactly the right target group? Are stories equally effective in various formats such as short films and podcasts? How can I come up with interesting stories for really dry subject matter? In mid-May we set off for the 4th Storytelling Conference organised by Quadriga Media in Berlin with our minds open to new impetus. The conference attracted more than 110 participants from a wide range of sectors, including agencies and some freelance journalists, all in quest of the secret of a good story. And we found the right recipe: stories have to engage the target group. Then storytelling can create moments that reach out to people, moments that are polarising, inspiring, or encourage people to change their minds ... Only then is storytelling a really effective component of the communications mix.

Stories have always had an impact. In his entertaining keynote address “The magical science of storytelling", David JP Philipps explained how stories affect the neurons in the human brain and how they can therefore be used to influence the emotions of the audience – depending on their purpose. However, for that, at least 98 percent of the story has to be true. Authenticity is key!

Finding and developing a good story takes time. Because it takes time to really explore the needs of the target group. Only then can storytelling really kindle emotions. That was the also message put across by Kai Sievers of gernBotschaft in his hands-on workshop. Short group-work sessions enabled people to test their own storytelling ability.

The speakers and experts all agreed: people must always be at the heart of a good story. However, graphic presentation of data can also be used to put together good PR stories according to Nick Marten of the OTTO Group. One common challenge frequently encountered in storytelling is the need to convince management and specialist departments. It isn’t always easy to persuade them of the emotional pull of simple stories that are readily understandable and are not overloaded with (technical) details. Günter Baumgartner of Siemens presented the #creatingperfectplaces campaign – an excellent example of how successful this approach can be. This campaign provides a perfect emotional basis for a technical subject, highlighting people and places that benefit from Siemens building technologies. Brilliantly told and well worth taking a look at!

Nike Wessel of dasprogramm showed that storytelling can be just as effective via audio media as in videos. Podcasts are far less labour-intensive to produce and can be accessed anytime, anywhere, for example while driving or cleaning or during the lunch break. Podcasts can therefore be a meaningful addition to storytelling in today's communication mix.

The key factor in all formats is that good stories don't simply need a perfect concept. Good copywriters are also essential – and that's precisely where Köhl et Feling is happy to help.

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