Human-led storytelling and personal connection underpins corporate communication and engagement in 2023, particularly in the purpose-driven, for-good industry.
Especially if your everyday work is in brand, communications, advocacy or partnerships, it can be easy to forget that spreadsheet data, emails, and views on your social posts are a result of real individuals experiencing life with their unique problems and satisfactions.
As a not-for-profit or for-good business, the stories within your organisation are your bread and butter; they’re what set you apart from run-of-the-mill corporates.
Communicating your impact with humans at the forefront is vital for connection and engagement with your content, and may be the key to increasing your organisation’s brand recognition, likability, engagement with others in your industry, and connections with politicians making decisions in your space.
It’s important to remind yourself that members of government are first and foremost, people. They, like all of us, are more than just their job title, and are humans that resonate with stories through personal connections, their upbringing, ethnicity and family values.
Communicating the value and return on investment of your work, by bringing your organisation’s stories to the forefront, is a strong strategy to garner support from influential decision makers in your industry.
A successful example of this strategy can be seen in one of our clients’ recent trips to Canberra. While the organisation is a federal peak body for one of the most common diseases in the country, board members felt they didn’t have a seat at the table in parliament, and weren’t involved in conversations about the disease. They were looking to raise awareness of their work and attract funding.
When sending out email requests for meetings with target stakeholders, we included a personal touch, making it clear as to why the organisation wanted to meet with them specifically. We used a human-led angle to stand out from the hundreds of meeting requests they receive each day, and bring the organisation to life. Consequently, they secured twenty one meetings in four days.
The organisation ensured a person with lived experience of the disease was in the room with the politician or adviser during their meetings. Telling their story in first person certainly increased support from Ministers and aided the formation of a parliamentary friends group, strengthening relationships with important stakeholders in the industry.
Our top recommendations for utilising human-led storytelling in government engagement are:
- Using a combination of data and storytelling to showcase your return on investment. Go beyond indicating how many people you’ve helped, and explain what your support allowed them to do, and how it changed their lives. Include a video testimonial or written quote to elevate storytelling, and increase the impact of your statistics.
- Include the story of someone with lived experience that the organisation has helped in their unique way. Whether you’re meeting with a politician at an event, or in a private meeting, do your best to showcase a story of someone the organisation has positively impacted.
It’s no secret that the media loves a human-led story. In fact, if you analyse the positive coverage of NFPs, and purpose-driven businesses in Australian metros, the majority are led by a profile or feature story about a person, or group of people, before the organisation is even mentioned.
When pitching out your organisation, it is important to include more than just the brand story. This isn’t downplaying the importance of your work, but rather positions your impact in a way to better connect with the media and their audiences.
To complement earned media, use your own channels such as social media, website and email marketing to leverage stories, too. Profile case studies as a series, conduct interviews, ask them to write a blog post or op-ed, and make sure to have an impact section on your website to showcase their stories in the context of your work.
Our top pieces of advice for employing a human angle in your owned and earned media:
- Even if your organisation’s name isn’t in the article’s title, it can still be quality coverage for your brand. The media is always going to be more interested in telling a personal story than that of a business or organisation. Cleverly embedding your organisational story and its impact on humans will lead to high quality, reputation raising coverage.
- Get creative – your organisation is full of stories. Whether it’s staff, board members, a leadership team, ambassadors, a patron, volunteers or people who have been impacted as a result of your work, there are plenty of human stories to choose from!
Fifty Acres is Australia’s leading communications and engagement agency. We have significant experience developing and executing government engagement and strategic communications plans for a wide range of clients across in the purpose-driven space.
If you need assistance with communicating your story to the government or the media, get in touch with us at fiftyacres.com.au.