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3 min read

Outreach Conference 2018: Why Story Eats Content for Dinner – Jack Murray

This article was updated on: 07.02.2022

With a lilting Irish accent and a propensity for the odd cheeky swear word, Jack really won the audience over from the beginning.

An ex-journalist, his talk was all about telling better stories and encouraging people to act the way you want them to act by telling your stories in a different way. Here’s our write up of his session.

It’s all about the story…

Lloyds Bank first released their ‘this is real life’ campaign in 2016. Ever since, it’s sat in Jack’s presentations as an example of storytelling. Here’s that campaign:

“Did it make you feel emotional?”, Jack asked. For most of the audience, the answer was yes – the advert brought about emotion because it tapped into the human experience and made us all remember emotional times in our own lives. That, he said, was storytelling.

Content, on the other hand, is like a syringe full of green stuff that we’re trying to inject into people and force upon them. Content, he argues, isn’t what the future of storytelling is all about.

Great stories get more…

  • Attention
  • Sales

Whether you’re a PR, a marketer, a business owner, you’re probably trying to get people to notice your thing, and buy it. That’s what storytelling can help you do.

In today’s digital world, people’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. The thing we need to ask ourselves is:

Are we building relationships, or are we just distracting people?

How do we create better stories?

  1. We need to believe in what we’re doing.

If we think our thing is a bit dull, everyone else is going to think it’s dull, too. If you like it, they will like it. If you love it, so will they.

So much of great storytelling is rooted in emotion. If we can communicate the emotion of the thing we’re trying to promote, we can better engage our audiences.

Jack gave an example from Tesco. Their advert, released last year, focused on the joy of family. It’s a brand that’s not necessarily known for being a hearty family brand, but that advert changes the way people perceive them – because they tap into emotion to do it.

Think about the hormones we trigger when we tell a story. Create happiness and intrigue.

What is your magic slice?

Think of the venn diagram, where what you want to talk about overlaps with what they want to hear about – that, according to Jack, is your magic slice.

Where should you use stories?

Simple answer: use stories everywhere. Create what Jack calls a ‘story rich environment’.

Bring stories to your presentations. Think about how to incorporate storytelling into your meetings. Let’s, says Jack, stop ‘boring the arse off each other’.

Top takeaways

While Jack’s presentation certainly evoked a lot of emotion, we’re not quite sure what the tangible takeaways are. Here’s our best attempt:

  1. Think about how to evoke emotion. Stop trying to sell ‘things’, start trying to sell ‘feelings’.
  2. No brand is ‘too boring’ to create a great story, providing you believe in what you’re saying.
  3. Try to incorporate storytelling into everything you do – we’re not keyword stuffing or article spinning anymore!