I attended the official opening of the Singapore International Storytelling Festival organised by the Book Development Council of Singapore last Friday, and came away with a revelation.
The thing which struck me was a comment made by Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, who said that (I’m paraphrasing here) by-and-large “the young has lost the art of storytelling”. He further explained that while the youth of today has many more avenues for communication – online forums, blogs and what-not – much of the content is vitriolic and even banal. Very few of them know how to harness the power of a story to communicate, convince and convert their audiences. Sadly enough, I agree with Dr. Balakrishnan.
However, what saddens me more is that this problem is not only limited to our youth. Many local businesses also do not know how to connect to their audiences by telling a story. They do not realise that it is no longer enough to think that “if you build it, they will come”.
You need to connect with your customers emotionally, and you can do that via a story.
For example, I think that one of the better local “storytellers” in Singapore today is Ya Kun Kaya Toast. Despite a low-end product (they are, after all, only selling coffee, eggs, and toast with a coconut-egg jam!), Ya Kun’s strategy of sharing its founder’s simple, humble heritage has clearly worked. Today there are around 25 Ya Kun outlets in Singapore, as well as many more in Indonesia, Malaysia and even Korea and Japan! You can read Ya Kun’s story here.
If you’d like to know how you can put together a brand story, consider attending one of the Singapore International Storytelling Festival’s seminars, Developing Marketing and Brand Messages through Stories. Conducted by Evelyn Clark, author of Around The Corporate Campfire: “How Great Leaders Use Stories To Inspire Success”,
it will help you fuse your corporate communications plan and developing a creative platform to share your story to key audiences.
You can find out more about the seminar here.