How Covid-19 Changed Corporate Storytelling Goals

Cultural entrepreneurship scholars propose entrepreneurs’ stories as symbolic devices that relate their ideas to pre-existing, ongoing and enveloping conversations anchoring their reality in context. The level of narrative articulation proposed might vary according to needs. When the level embodies the maximum effort of representativeness and completeness, it is called storytelling. When storytelling is referred to a company, it is called corporate storytelling. Nowadays, storytelling is the most powerful tool  that can be used to teach, influence and educate forging connections among people. In the following article, I will touch upon storytelling, corporate storytelling and the changes due to Covid-19.

Storytelling

Doing storytelling means to generate a narrative universe made by a subject-author that invites subjects like consumers, stakeholders, clients to be part of common destiny.  Storytelling is based on the differentiation between history and story. The first concept is a collection of facts, events, data, information, logic, space and time.  The latter is a perception, an action, a meaning, a fiction, a memory recreated with flashback and flashforward. A story is the set of events described according to a logical and chronological sequence. It is an elaboration of real or imaginary events. 

There are two broad insights that seem to characterize all narrative analyses. Firstly, stories are never complete - stories are told in a context, to listeners, by a storyteller, for particular purposes.  Secondly, stories are told in the larger context of their stories and ideas the so-called larger voices.  "Larger voices" aims to touch deeper sensibilities and strategies like entrepreneurship is and how it occurs.

Narrative approaches can fundamentally alter our world view. It informs of the many ways of who, what, where, why and when of storytelling because these are situated in a particular multiple local-cultural-historical context. For the reasons above, it seems evident how it is decisive to consider the context in which narrative analysis take place.

Storytelling, as a narrative application, converges into managerial relationships principles. It is used  by brand management for the creation of strategic principles. Yet, by internal and external communication for  the products user experience design and services. Lastly, by tourism marketing for the planning of experiences of visiting museums or during the corporate and commercial exhibition. 

Storytelling is communication through stories involving a scientific approach with a theoretical background. It has to be considered as an individual process that makes sense and as a collective, socio-cultural or systematic practice of consensual construction of worlds.

Corporate storytelling

When storytelling is referred to a company, it is called corporate storytelling. It is noteworthy because narratives perform a critical role in conveying an entrepreneurial firm's identity managing a firm self-presentation that is primarily designed to create a comprehensible identity for an entrepreneurial firm. Researchers hold the assertion  that stories are fundamental to secure additional investment capital, providing "sense-making" and "sense-giving"thereby leveraging firms’ existing resources. 

 

Minimal narratives appear on promotional materials such as brochures, websites, social media, and product packages. The fuller narratives appear in documents such as annual reports, business plans, and IPO prospectuses.Both types of narratives fall under the umbrella of corporate storytelling.Entrepreneurial narratives make facts appear more certain by recasting the firm's history as a natural progression, helping to overcome its two key challenges: information asymmetry and uncertainty.

Corporate storytelling conveys signals about a firm's market leadership position and degrees of credibility with the established leaders and potential noncontenders, appearing credible. This is determined from two different branches of narrative studies, called storytelling management and operative storytelling. 

Corporate communication embodies the operational concept. This designation refers to a more valued acquisition of strategic input into decision making and the overall corporate strategy, determining an integration between communications linking corporate objectives with long-term implications. 

How Covid-19 changed corporate storytelling goals

As I claimed above, corporate storytelling has to be contextualized and nowadays Covid-19 is definitely the worst scenario human beings have been through in the last decades. Storytelling has always been defined by authenticity but more than ever the concept of time is the most precious in the current time.

Three corporate storytelling strategies need to be pointed out because these changed brands responsiveness.

1. Don’t be afraid to be positive,whichliterally means finding ways to inspire the audience.

2.Manage the balance between being sensitive to people’s safety and psychological needs regardless your business goals. 

3.Show your impact and empathy.

Regarding the last point, one great example came from Burger King in the UK. The company, three days before England was about to get into the second lockdown, tweeted asking consumers to support their local fast-food showing empathy towards the biggest competitors like McDonald's, Domino’s Pizza, Subway and so on.

The tweet said: “We never thought we'd be asking you to do this, but restaurants employing thousands of staff really need your support at the moment. So, if you want to help, keep treating yourself to tasty meals through home delivery, takeaway or drive thru. Getting a Whopper is always best, but ordering a Big Mac is also not such a bad thing."

Yet, because a happy ending is not promised at least some solidarity should be demonstrated and Burger King did prove that this can happen. In conclusion, storytelling empowers marketers to develop a deeper connection with the audience as a tool for fundamental human experience that unites people and drives stronger networks.