The Storytelling Tree
Here’s an easy visual for a successful communications set up: The Storytelling Tree.
When explaining to clients how I approach storytelling, in particular digital or transmedia storytelling, and communications as a whole for that matter, I use the “Storytelling Tree”. It’s a super simple concept, easy to understand but still encompasses all the different levels that are crucial for communications success. I’ve spoken about the tree in my (German) SHIFT Keynote and have been using it with clients for a while now. But today I wanted to share it with you.
The tree trunk stands for your company’s values, mission and your promise to customers. You have to know who you are and what you stand for. Being certain in yourself is the foundation of all communication. Here’s where authenticity comes into play.
Once you know who you are and what you stand for, you start developing stories. Starting from who you are and what you offer you create strings of stories and messages. What’s essential here is that you don’t just focus on what you want to talk about, but figure out what your target audience wants to hear. Important: Target audiences are not neccessarily defined by demographics or gender, but – especially online – should be defined by a common interest.
Each branch – each story (or campaign, as you will) – then grows itself out into different leaves. The leaves represent the various touchpoints with your target interest group. For some stories that can be the entire array of communications channels from mail to print to Facebook to TV to face to face. For other stories that might mean only your internal communications channels or only your website. The touchpoints matter in regards of the delivery format of your story, but should not dictate the story itself.
Unseen, but the most important part. The roots stand for the internal structures, processes and culture within your organization. You can try all you want, but if your tree doesn’t have strong roots that are supporting it in its growth and that grow with it, you’ll fail.