Writing and Public Speaking
According to an article in the Financial Times, A host of blue chip companies, including the BBC, Emap and Lego, have discovered that storytelling can help everything from marketing and product development to staff management and branding.
Companies eager to make an emotional connection are using stories to help their customers see them in a positive light. For instance, a traditional mission statement, something like We put customers first, is much more abstract than an anecdote about how a salesperson personally delivered a product when it came in because he knew the customer wanted it for his little girls birthday party that day.
Sometimes the stories appear on the packaging. Innocent Drinks have stories attached that illustrate their purity and simple approach. Before the Ben and Jerrys brand was sold, it exploited a folksy, hippie image that was reflected in the names of its ice creams, the donations it made to good causes, and the style of its packaging.
Another good example, this one from television advertising, is the series of ads for Apple computers in which the Mac is represented by a hip, casual young man, while the PC is represented by a suit-wearing, bespectacled, befuddled type. Each of the ads tells a little story in which these two are the friendly rivals. (There is some indication, however, that this story may be backfiring because the PC character may come across as more likable).
The article also references Stuart Delves, a Scottish writer who has helped businesses convey technical data in ways that are more informal than the typical jargon-filled tech manuals. Delves says the trick is involving the emotions as well as the intellect. Lists of facts and figures dont have emotional resonance; stories do.
This trend could represent an interesting new market for writers. A good way to establish your credentials in this area is to do some voluntary work for a charitable organization. Use your storytelling skills to help them raise money or get more volunteers, document the results, then approach businesses. Once you have built up a portfolio of work, this could be a very lucrative new source of writing income.