You ever wonder where our love for storytelling comes from? Well it probably stems from centuries ago before smartphones and the interweb…eh hem… I mean internet were around. Almost told my age there! But, why not admit to being “senior”? Those are the folks that told the good stories! In fact, people used to gather round to listen to their grandparents, neighbors, and family friends when they wanted to hear a good story. Instead of “do you guys have WiFi?” Kids used to actually ask for a good old-fashioned story.
It’s safe to say that storytelling has been around since the beginning of time as a source for entertainment. People are able to visualize different parts of a good story through their own interpretation, also known as using your imagination.
Storytelling triggers empathy, compassion, and other emotions within the human mind. As you tell the story, the audience mentally experiences it.
Scientifically, our brains enjoy retaining good stories, even when we’re sleeping. The stories we enjoy more, release a feel-good hormone inside us called Oxytocin. It’s amazing how the information we download into our brains translates into the release of a hormone that ultimately effects our behavior.
As event industries pros, one must ask, how can an event manager benefit from the effects that storytelling has on people's minds?
Storytelling and Event Planning
It is the job of a good event manager to deliver a good experience. If science dictates that listening to a good story releases hormone that help the listener enjoy it, how can an event deliver the same effect? I mean it must work since storytelling has become a vital tool in all forms of event marketing. But, why?
Here’s why. When we relate a story to any planned event, it inspires the listener/reader to relate to the event on a personal level. If you tell the story well, the right narrative will cause word of mouth to kick in and now people are sharing your story. When the very same sentiment is shared on online platforms, you’re multiplying your story’s outreach. Everyone wants to experience something that others are saying is a must try. So ticket sales or registrations should increase by simply telling the brand’s story in an inviting way.
For future events, you can count on a boost in ticket/registration sales when people who attended your event go back and share their experience with everyone they know. The people who listen to them share their experience, are now similar to the old school audience storytellers used to have. They begin imagining what a great time they would have if they were to attend too. That’s where the REAL power of storytelling lies. In its effect on people.
Photo courtesy of Walmart.com
Storytelling and Events Marketing
If you can generate empathy, deliver powerful stories and relate them to your brand, you will be successful in profoundly connecting with your audience. However, the key is to also explain how the idea of launching your brand initiated. The audience will grow more interest in your brand by listening to the story behind how it all began.
It’s important to gather enough data from previous events to analyze the type of stories that your target audience will be interested in. Use feedback and survey forms from previous years.
Connecting with potential attendees. Prior to the event, begin sharing out videos, images, and include short but engaging captions on your social media posts to begin attracting people to your brand. You want to deliver bits and pieces of how your company’s story began with inviting graphics, and use just enough words to spark interest to leave them wanting more. The idea is to make them feel like they know your story enough to want to be a part of your upcoming event.
When an event manager plans a story-driven corporate or social event, they must first recognize that it is a two-way discussion. The potential attendees should feel comfortable enough to share their reaction to the upcoming event. Towards the end of each post about your event, invite people to share a comment so that you can see their point of view and get a gauge of what they’re expecting from your event.
The more your team engages with your potential attendees, the higher the chance that your event will be well received and successful.
Although the word “story” is often perceived to be fictitious, it’s up to the event manager to be able to connect with the attendees before, during, and after the event to build a true connection and trust with them. This may be difficult in a single sitting but continuously maintaining the brand image will entice the target audience to continue attending future events.
You want to draw your audience in by telling your story through your promotional efforts like live sessions on social media, open discussion boards, blog posts, etc. Then find out what they think or what part of your story they felt most connected with through the comment sections of your post. After the event, get their overall perception of your brand by requesting feedback and sending out survey forms so that you know what resonated most, and where you can improve your brand’s story.
If you’re an Event Manager in NYC who knows the ins and outs of storytelling for events, we’d love to hear from you! Contact us so we can discuss having you write a guest blog post that we can share with event pros who are looking to learn how to incorporate their brand’s story into their event experiences.