Good Innovation Stories

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Innovation Story-Telling

To tell a good story around innovation, we require a solid ground to base our story. Next, we need to represent the content creator as a champion of the story or act as a tool for the target audience to become the champion of their story. To connect the story with the emotions of the audience, a good innovation story has to be relatable and empathetic. Further, it has to be easily accessible to marketers in terms of familiarity and simplicity.

Many companies like Warby Parker, Burt's Bees, and THINX are using the power of effective innovation storytelling aligned with a compelling narrative to get to the forefront of their target audience. It is also noted that companies like 3M, Nike, and Proctor & Gamble have incorporated storytelling into their business model.

What is a Good story?

  • A good story features essential elements like a captivating setup, relatable characters, an interesting plot, a compelling source of conflict, a central theme, and a narrative arc. (Source1)
  • A captivating setup works to draw the audience interest, while relatable characters in the story help to involve the audience emotionally with the story.
  • An interesting plot, along with a driving conflict engages those emotions of the audience by making them curious about the story.
  • It is essential for the story ideation to adhere to one or two central themes. These will help the audience to remain connected with the topic and become aware of the key takeaways of the story.
  • The narrative arc is a sense of journey that the audience takes while going through the story, along with the characters that they are invested in. Further, it imperative for the story to be relatable and appeal to human emotions as a whole. Also, the narrative may be complex, but it has to be simple enough to be understood by the audience.

How do we tell the story of an Innovation?

  • The importance of storytelling is critical to an innovation's success. Marketers need to hyped about the innovation and be invested in it, before even investing in it.
  • The rules of general storytelling apply to corporate storytelling as well. The way in which innovation is related is crucial for the innovator to understand the storyline.
  • To captivate the target audience and appeal to their inner motives, the tools of storytelling must be well incorporated into the human way of thinking.
  • The ideas presented in the story must be realistic and relatable. Ideas can be relatable and realistic in a way to either captivate the audiences' real-life situations or their inbound fantasies.
  • The innovator must have their values set in place to start their storytelling. These values will define them and also impact the kind of audience they can gather from the crowd.
  • The stories have to be concise and clear. The audience is always attracted to something that is simple but has some substance to it.
  • While telling the story, it is important to set the context and provide real-life examples and proofs to gravitate the logical spectrum of their audience towards the innovation in focus.
  • Audiences need to see the values and implications of innovation. It is always better to let them understand the feasibility of the innovation via the story itself, rather than using additional exposition after the story is narrated.
  • The story must be that of transformation. The emotional side of the human beings always seeks change; to connect with the emotions of the audience, it is essential for the innovation to drive forward a dramatic change in the story that can stick to the minds of the target audience.
  • Everyone likes surprises. An interesting innovation story will have twists and surprises. This also works in favor of bringing the much-needed change into the story.
  • The audience must always be the driving characters. If the audience is treated as a third person, it will make them feel excluded. Rather, a story with its targets in first or second person will have them experience everything through their own senses.

Some Notable Examples: (Source4)

1) WARBY PARKER — www.warbyparker.com
  • Warby Parker is an eyeglass manufacturer, that has gained its reputation of being a symbol of being fun and playful.
  • Their central theme for the brand revolves around accessibility and being natural, which can be seen in their creative storytelling.
  • Warby Parker fleshes out itself as concerned with nature, something which many are concerned about. It also appeals to those in need of fashionable but affordable eyewear.
  • Every communication by Warby Parker tells a story, not just of the product but of the people behind it and the values they instill in it.
  • The campaigns of Warby Parker help audiences to identify the motives and context of the company; it enables their audience to invest in the product.
  • Their innovative brand is also presented as being not just a product but an idea. For example, they market their eyewear as being made from natural ingredients and material. This establishes them as an environment affectionate and helps the brand to attract people's attention.
2) BURT'S BEES — www.burtsbees.com
  • Burt's Bees sell personal care products. While every company is trying to associate as an eco-friendly and herbal brad, Burt's Bees goes a step further to present an idea of simple and minimalist self-care, something that is both unique and attractive.
  • It also presents the idea of keeping things natural and communicates the benefits of natural beauty in their storytelling.
  • The entire line of their products hinges on the philosophy and lifestyle of Burt; further, the company highlights those very philosophies in their storytelling to win the interest of the audience.
  • Burt's Bees present the story of the man and how he founded this innovative approach to formulating beauty products. They also market the idea of Burt being a wise naturalist, which makes audiences to believe in their stories and products philosophy.
3) THINX — www.shethinx.com
  • THINX is a manufacturer of period-proof panties. Considering that the topic of menstruation is still a taboo in the 21st century, THINX bases all of its outgoing stories on breaking the barriers and establishing recognition for problems associated with periods.
  • From its website to its personal blog titled 'Periodicals,' it sells a story of its concern being aligned with every women's concern. Further, the theme in their narrative is that of women empowerment and how to break social barriers.
  • They also have a series called 'One Woman' in collaboration with 'Harper's Bazaar' containing empowering stories of women who broke gender barriers and did what their heart said. This not only settles the idea of them being concerned with women empowerment, but it also allows individuals to associate with such stories and start believing in their innovation itself.
Sources
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Quotes
  • "Recast your audience into the story: Paul says you should put your target audience into the plot of the story. Make them “walk it” with you. Involving them makes it more memorable than just telling them about it. With innovation, this means helping your audience imagine using the new concept, creating it, or perhaps selling it to a customer. Get them to “taste it.”"
  • "At Nike, senior executives are called “corporate storytellers.” 3M banned bullet points and replaced them with writing “strategic narratives.” Procter & Gamble hired Hollywood directors to teach its executives storytelling techniques. Business schools have storytelling courses to their curriculum."
Quotes
  • "The most important thing first is to set your values, as these will be the platform for all your stories. Which of our values are nonnegotiable? What will we not compromise on? Who are we, and what is important to us? “The most important thing in company storytelling is consistency, consistency, consistency! Find your place in the world, find your heart of being. Then you can use the storytelling process to inform innovation: where are we going, and how will we get there?”"