The power of storytelling can’t be underestimated.
Stories inspire us, teach us and influence us. We need stories. We thrive on them. We are inspired to act because of them.
Stories can change the world.
Our world is threatened by climate change and the need to be inspired to act has never been more important.
However, are corporate sustainability stories changing the world? Not often. Are we being inspired, influenced, or motivated enough to act? Not really.
We need to change the way we tell stories about sustainability.
Yes, climate change is complex. Yes, the science behind it is complicated. But that doesn’t mean the way we tell the story has to be.
Storytelling is a part of being human.
The fundamentals of storytelling are easy, are powerful and have been around for millennia so, quite simply, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. If sustainability stories and their storytellers remain true to the basics, we can be motivated and feel empowered to make a difference in our world.
Stories should pull us in and make us feel connected. We want to relate to them and feel an emotion. That is especially true for sustainability stories because climate change is a problem created by, and impacting on, humanity.
Like any story, sustainability ones should “move” us, make us feel emotionally connected and charged about the situation and make us feel like we are a character in the plot.
We all have a role to play in making our world greener and cleaner. So set the scene, describe the challenge, the efforts, decisions, and choices being taken and why. Make a global problem human-sized.
How is what your organisation doing going to make a difference to normal, everyday people? How can we, as readers, put ourselves in their shoes and experience what they are?
Sustainability is one of the most important stories an organisation can tell.
Stakeholders of all types are increasingly demanding transparency and accountability so the time of sustainability stories being niche or optional is long gone. It’s now an imperative.
Any story from your organisation must serve a purpose and it should deliver impact. The days of talking just for the sake of it are long past. Audiences are increasingly more educated on climate change and sustainability so if your story doesn’t have a core point, ambition, or purpose, it will fall on deaf ears.
And, when solving the challenge ahead of us requires audiences to be galvanised into acting (and not just talking about it) organisations cannot afford to miss an opportunity.
Society faces a grim situation. That’s undeniable. Although there is a growing miasma of despair amongst us all where the attitude of “it’s too late, why bother” risks becoming dominant.
That doesn’t have to be the case. It isn’t the reality. We can change. We represent many clients that are helping change the situation and their efforts are being helped because we are telling their stories with hope and optimism.
We are helping audiences picture the light at the end of the tunnel.
Organisations are taking action ‘X’ because they believe the future will be ‘Y’. They believe that there can be a future. They are showing other companies, citizens and consumers what is possible and what collective action can achieve.
We need sustainability stories to be like any other – ones that inspire, teach, influence, and motivate.
Stories can change the world. Let’s change it.