Globally, businesses and non-profit organisations have been using personal (biographical) stories for a decade to build Brand affinity, share programme effectiveness, uncover stakeholder insights, facilitate Change and sell products and services.
In fact, Business Storytelling has emerged as one of the most important aspects of communications – whether content marketing, advocacy or market research – in recent years.
The reasons are simple: Research has shown human beings are wired to learn from stories. People resonate with others’ stories. And biographical stories are remembered (and shared) far more than fictional ones.
The collecting of personal or autobiographical stories also provides deep insights into both the tellers and their challenges. As Communications Strategist Felicity Hinton asserts, “Storytelling methodology focus groups reveal key cultural pointers that can be applied to solution designs”. In fact, some of the world’s largest non-profit organisations have picked up on narrative research as part of their M&E.
South Africa shares a long history of cultural storytelling but lags behind the rest of the world with regard to Business Storytelling. Local businesses are still trying to sell products and services through fictional stories, resulting in a lack of connection (and, in some cases, loss of brand credibility).
Training in South Africa
Now, for the first time, Business Storytelling training is available in South Africa! Roth Communications has successfully launched a brand new training in story collecting, the Story Collectors Professional Workshops, which provides participants with the necessary skills and knowledge to collect and use autobiographical stories for a wide variety of Communications and Advocacy purposes.
The culmination of a decade’s work in Business Storytelling, the Story Collectors Professional Workshops will be facilitated by Stuart Rothgiesser, founder and MD of the consulting and professional services firm that specialises in organisational transformation , Change Communications and people development.
Says Rothgiesser: “More and more, South African communications and advocacy professionals are learning the power of personal story and integrating them into their work. But very few know how to collect these stories – and do so in a way that is good for both the teller and their clients and funders – with respect and trust.”
To date, more than 75 individuals from 15 organisations have been through the training.