We are storytelling creatures. From the very beginning of civilisation, humans have told stories to transmit messages that needed to be remembered and retold.
The emergence of the Internet and digital technologies has brought about some significant changes to how we tell stories today. Blogging, Facebook, SEO, wearable technology are among the driving forces that have shaped the evolution of modern storytelling.
Over the centuries our need to tell stories hasn't gone away, I would say it's become bigger and bigger. What's changed though are the array of mediums we can use for our stories.
Storytelling tools and mediums
During the past ten years this array has grown massively, accounting for the most rapid evolution of storytelling in communications history and some new storytelling trends such as short videos on Vine or Snapchat stories that disappear in 24 hours. This, in turn, has had a significant impact on the PR business. As natural storytellers, PR people have had to evolve to and adapt new tools and channels to tell clients' stories and disseminate information.
The evolution of storytelling
To visualise the evolution of storytelling, an infographic by Carabiner Communications takes a look back at the trends that have shaped how corporate stories get told, exploring the years 2003-2014. This history lesson includes milestones from “blogging” becoming a dictionary entry to the latest tech innovation of wearable devices.
Some of the key milestones mentioned are:
- the rise of the blogosphere in 2004
- the emergence of social networking in 2005
- the explosion of the mobile-first mentality since 2011
- the new era of wearable technology as of 2014
You see, it's only been a decade, but so much has happened, hasn't it?
Technology and societal adoption now moves at a faster rate than our ability to adapt our modus operandi at work. Brian Solis calls this phenomenon Digital Darwinism.
Storytelling adds value
But no matter how big technology's influence is on our marketing and communications campaigns (and our lives too), one remains true – stories are at the heart of how we talk to each other, how we learn and share information and how we develop our thinking and grow as individuals. As human beings, storytelling is in our DNA and it should be deeply rooted into the brand DNA of companies too. Storytelling for business will be absolutely crucial to add value and build relationships with your customers and target audiences. It might already be so.
The only thing that hasn't changed is having a good story to tell. Stories that lack value don't really get 'listened to' nor do they spread no matter how proficiently you use all new tools and mediums.
Check out the infographic for more details about the last decade of storytelling evolution:
In your opinion, how will storytelling evolve over the next 10 years?