Tell me a story, and drive me to action. Tell me a tale and ignite me to move. Share your experience and shape my very own. Hearing your words, no longer standing still. Tell me your story, motivate me to will.
This is the power of our stories. We hold the very force used to grab our audience's attention, allowing them to go beyond witnessing our journey. Through our narratives, we make room for them on our path and invite them to walk alongside us. Organizations can no longer afford for our audiences to hear alone. We must make them feel. They have to relate and connect with our brands if we are asking them to believe in who we are and the why behind what we do.
We are on a mission, yes? There is a task at hand that must be fulfilled, correct? Every association knows that our assignment can not be completed independently, right? To see our mission come to life, our members have to partner with us and participate in turning the hope that we have into a lived reality. We have to kindle the full degree of their passions into burning, intractable flames. This fire will not burn without fanning and flaring its spark. We need a lighter to entice and strike the first flicker. Here is where our brand stories make an entrance.
In October 2017, the story of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein's decades of sexual misconduct confronted the world. Investigative reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey shed light on Weinstein's alleged assaults on dozens of Hollywood's most elite actresses. Within just a few days, other well-known stars began to off burden the weight of their hidden pain, and we took notice. The Pulitzer Prize story galvanized a spark, and the #MeToo movement was born. A spotlight on sexual harassment radiated Hollywood in ways none could have predicted. The subject became a matter to address in workplaces worldwide and turned relations between men and women at work on its head. One story. One movement.
Harriet Beecher Stowe gave us the book “Uncle Tom's Cabin.” History denotes that the story of Uncle Tom, an enslaved African-American furthered the abolitionist cause in the North. Stowe held back no punches in sharing the cruelty of slavery, which captured the public's attention in a new and very personal way. Due to its undeniable ability to draw the reader into the experienced despair, an uproar erupted. Former President Abraham Lincoln is known for citing that the novel contributed to the country's tipping point, leading us to the Civil War. In short, Stowe gave us a story that charged us into action!
Cook County Farm Bureau stepped up when the COVID-19 pandemic hit not only our health but our pantries. The general farm association created the Food Pantry Support Program to address the rise in local pantry visits. The increase was 50% higher than average and, at times, up to 150% at its height. The Food Pantry Support Program spread the word about this saga through aggressive awareness efforts. It became vocal about how one could help to include online engagement and sharing of the needs and service areas impacted. Results: 7,400 individuals were fed, 153 association volunteers rolled up their sleeves, and 72 community partners joined in the efforts. Cook County Farm Bureau won an ASAE 2021 Summit Award for the movement they ignited.
A good story connects hearts, and once those love strings adjoin to your narrative, your organization has been given a clear and massive runway ready for takeoff.
You now have room to create empathy and inspire action. We live in a divisive world and, in that, often forget the bonds that bind us. Yet there is one language we all understand and can all relate to—the human story.
Humanize your brand story, allowing your audience to immerse themselves within. When you do so, you connect them to your mission, vision, and objectives all at once while guiding them into their own role. Here's where it makes all the difference. The minute your audience can see themselves inside your story and understand how their "character" plays a part, they move from spectating to participating.
Don't just tell us why we should care. Give us a narrative, and we'll give you a movement!