Food for Thought: Why story 'doing' is more important than storytelling

Marketers have all heard about story telling. But if that story telling is not backed by authentic action, can it be as effective to reach an increasingly switched-on consumer. CMO asks the experts.

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Marketers all know they're in the job of story telling. But if that story telling is not backed by authentic action, can it be as effective to reach an increasingly switched-on consumer.

CMO asks four industry leaders including three marketing chiefs to share how they're ensuring there's depth, company consistency and activity to support the stories they're sharing with customers. 

Linda Olofsson Daniel

Head of marketing, The Tax Institute

At The Tax Institute, our membership base is far-reaching, including a membership of 12,000 tax professionals from commerce and industry, academia, government and public practice and 40,000 Australian business leaders, government employees and students.

Credit: The Tax Institute

Being at the forefront of thought leadership, knowledge and education for such a significantly large audience means we need to walk the talk, especially given the highly volatile regulatory nature of the  profession. So we certainly don’t believe in ‘passive complacency’ when it comes to the narratives that we produce to enhance the experience our members and stakeholders enjoy. 

One of the key narratives we believe is that tax and accounting practitioners are responsible for making decisions that impact the heart of the Australian economy. And ‘storytelling’ isn’t enough to drive that narrative. It’s ‘story showing’.

That’s why this year, we’ve taken a proactive decision to create a new, flagship event. The Tax Summit is the biggest event Australia has ever seen for the tax profession. It’s this event that will bring all the critical narratives that drive the future of the profession to life in deeper, more meaningful ways than ever before. 

Importantly, it’s an event that will allow over 1000 tax and accounting professionals to meet, network and share their own stories with each other – sharing their trials and tribulations within their practice, and coming up with solutions to common problems together. So, by encouraging these professionals to share their own stories with each other, we effectively help to add further momentum to improving and shaping the future of tax practice in Australia. 

Suzanne Mitchell

Marketing director, GoDaddy 

There's always a place for good storytelling, it articulates the organisation's direction in a way that's easily understood by employees and customers alike.

At GoDaddy it is exciting to work with Australian small business owners and entrepreneurs that are starting their own ventures, and hearing their authentic stories that come from a deep, personal and true place.  

Credit: GoDaddy

The essential part comes in making sure your story isn't a work of fiction. Our customers’ stories are backed up by the fact that they are living the journey, delivering on their vision and stepping towards realising their dream every day. Large organisations can learn from their smaller counterparts when it comes to passionate and committed storytelling. 

Being real and authentic across both the storytelling and story doing helps to build passion within teams as well as credibility when communicated across all audiences.     

Erik de Roos

Chief marketing officer, San Remo Macaroni Company 

Actions will always speak louder than words – this is nothing new. As a family owned business, San Remo has been adopting “We’re Family” as its brand platform for nearly two decades now, but they’ve been living it for far longer than that. The premise behind We’re Family is that families, like pasta, come in all shapes and sizes and sharing a meal as a family has the power to unite us all.

Credit: San remo

San Remo, which was established by Italian migrants, understands the hardships families face in the search for a better existence in a strange country and has a long history of assisting migrants on their arrival, giving them jobs, setting them up in homes, and helping to educate their children.

What’s more, throughout the years San Remo, in its own very understated way, has generously donated funds and food products to such organisations as the Mary Potter Foundation and Foodbank. In other words, it’s acted out on the premise of We’re Family since its earliest days. 

It's also in keeping with this strong sense of family spirit that San Remo recently answered the callout from Foodbank for vital food staples such as pasta, snacks and cup noodles as part of their 2020 Bushfire Relief appeal. Consequently, San Remo donated an extremely generous amount of over 50 tonnes of goods, equating to close to $500,000 in retail value and with enough food to serve over 100,000 meals, according to Foodbank estimations.

It’s a great reflection how San Remo is actively acting out the ambition of trying to bring families together through a family meal. 

Symon Madry

Practice head, technology and business, Red Havas 

Stories are strongest when they serve the action. This itself should be genuine and meaningful, delivering a benefit to an individual, the organisation or society.

For example, experiments with cashless societies in Sweden and universal basic income in the UK, have sparked broader discussions on the merits of re-thinking our financial systems. 

Credit: Red Havas

Technology enables every individual and organisation to produce content, but we still recognise and reward our best storytellers with attention and engagement. 

The fundamentals of storytelling should be remembered: state why, articulate what, explain how, clarify when, and identify who – all in a way that the audience finds informative or entertaining. An inability to tick all these boxes should signal that there’s more to be done before the story can be told.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia 

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