Home Articles Ready for your close-up? Why PR is all about great storytelling

Ready for your close-up? Why PR is all about great storytelling


It’s the month before Christmas. Hundreds of new game releases are jockeying for visibility in a cluttered market. Your task is to get Ubisoft’s stealth-assassin game – which is typically skewed towards a male, aged 15-plus market – onto mainstream Christmas wishlists across Australia. After deconstructing the game to understand its core components like location, characters, game technology, music, design and animation, you use this to create a plot: ‘Interactive Gaming – for all ages.’

…And CUT! Communication as art

Effective storytelling is a fine and beautiful art. PR is the art of relevant storytelling for corporations and individuals. It’s about finding your story and communicating your story to create allure and desire around your brand. Most importantly it’s about effective, infectious communication which generates positive results.

This story is about the ascent of cross-generational gaming, showcasing the vast benefits from physical and mental health to coordination, social interaction and ‘learning new activities’. Assassin’s Creed II is the hero, with best supporting role by Ubisoft’s CEO, Edward Fong. Locations include Cherrybrook Retirement village, a lounge room and Ubisoft’s head office.

Narrated by reporter Sarah Stewart, the plot is brought to light with facts and figures, care of Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia. In this instance, to build a bigger platform story, there was collaboration with competitors, in cameo roles, such as Nintendo Wii. Creating a multi-layered approach to storytelling and adding relevant components to make it newsworthy enabled Ubisoft to secure a highly desirable television segment for Assassin’s Creed II, without celebrity endorsement or advertising spend – when the simple announcement of a new product launch would traditionally have no traction.

Effective campaigns: backstage…and at the pump

Sometimes the best stories are the ones that happen behind the scenes – Volvo leveraged its sponsorship of WICKED to get backstage VIP access to in-person interviews with the stars of the show; Lucy Durack (who plays the Good Witch Glinda), Jemma Rix (the feared Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaha) and the creative genius behind the Australian production, Resident Director, Kris Stewart. Nestled in among the lights and dozens of intricately designed costumes is Volvo Car Australia, official automotive partner of WICKED.

This story features Volvo as an integral cast member in WICKED, and takes the car well beyond its traditional automotive realm, and onto the television screens of fashion, entertainment and culture fanatics across Australia.

Business-to-business campaigns require equally strong storytelling skills to build their visibility and positioning.

PumpTV is a new outdoor advertising platform utilising Australia’s first and only national digital petrol station TV network. You may have seen the TV screens at your local petrol pump? Their story is about a vision to embrace place-based media to engage consumers in new, relevant ways. For every 60 seconds of advertising, the consumer views 90 seconds of Ch 7 news, sports and weather highlights. Recently featured in two issues of BRW, PumpTV have been showcased as both an Emerging Company and thought leader in the ‘Future of Television’.

In PumpTV’s case, the story is all about the advertisers’ engaging with commuting consumers and optimising place-based media opportunities. Elements like the Frost & Sullivan report on the increase of digital signage play supporting roles in the narration of the story.

So, how do you find your story?

Following are some simple guidelines you can use to make serious waves for your business.

  • Know your audience: Identify your customer and create customer segments. Create a survey to understand your audience – use free online tools like SurveyMonkey for gaining customer insights. Alternately, if customers are walking through your door, ask them a few questions at point-of-purchase or in person.
  • Find your story: what sparked the passion and excitement which has led to your current business? What is your motivation? Take it back to the core essentials of what got you started. This is the breeding ground for authentic communication.
  • Test your story: The angle is the major point of interest for the story: the ‘So What Factor’. For your story to be newsworthy it must have at least several of the following attributes: impact, timeliness, currency, proximity, novelty, prominence, human interest or conflict.
  • Share your story: work out the best means of communication for your business. Communication tactics should be time and cost effective for you, but most importantly relevant to your customer.
  • Be Authentic: build your brand values and share these with your customers. Declaring and defining who you are will attract like-minded individuals
  • Provide Value: enrich your customers’ lives: education, knowledge, intrinsic rewards, commercial value, competitive pricing – you decide based on your values and positioning.
  • Reward Storytelling: empower your customers to spread positive word-of-mouth. Engage and reward them.

So as you develop your next twitter, Facebook or even traditional media strategy, ask yourself what story you are narrating and how it will help you start conversations with consumers.

Edweana Wenkart, Managing Director of Tsuki, has more than 15 years experience in managing communications campaigns which drive bottom line results for B2B and B2C companies. Tsuki means ‘moon’ in Japanese – a symbol of creativity and drive.

Image by Reinis Traidas