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Brand Storytelling Via Oswestry LitFest

The Jools Payne Partnership is the official PR partner for the 2014 Oswestry LitFest.

Pretty much anyone who can string a coherent sentence together can lob out an opportunistic press release. And indeed, many business owners do just that in the mistaken belief that this is somehow ‘good PR’ (public relations) .

PR is such a nebulous term. It’s also a deeply misunderstood art that in my view is an undervalued discipline in the marketing mix – especially here in the UK. Poor practitioners and confusing the difference between  PR professionals and publicists like Max Clifford hasn’t helped. Less said about him the better.

Go Stateside, and you’ll find PR is a standing item on most boardroom agendas. They totally get the importance of strategic PR across the pond and its crucial role in brand and reputation management.

I confess PR is tricky to explain properly in a short blog post and
I remain baffled how an industry body devoted to reputation management still struggles to manage its own on this side of the Atlantic.

Asked to describe ‘PR’ in a sentence by someone I met at a networking meeting recently, I replied: “It’s simply positive brand storytelling”.

I hoped that would do it but he pressed me further. “Okay,” I said, “it is about taking a powerful proposition – your company for example – and developing a compelling narrative around it. By that I mean the stories that happen every single day within your business. Now they can be people-related stories, product-related stories, place-related stories, community stories, charity event stories, staff award wins or company contract win stories. The opportunities are there. If you are running a dynamic business, believe me… you will have stories aplenty,” I told him. That sort of did it.

In a nutshell, strategic storytelling is making the most of all these little good news nuggets in a way that is planned, focused, creative and most importantly, fully aligned to your business goals. Getting these nuggets out into the public domain – using a range of tools and techniques – will build brand awareness and reputation over time. It’s a long game but one that reaps rewards.

Strategic storytelling communicates the character, personality and credibility of your brand. Social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or wherever your key audience live and engage online, help drive engagement with your brand. It is how successfully that engagement is managed, both online and offline, that drives reputation.

In my modest organisation storytelling is in our DNA, that’s why it makes perfect sense for us to be the Oswestry LitFest PR partner.

Aligning with Oswestry LitFest is a good strategic fit for us. It sits neatly with our core proposition – great storytelling and good writing.

You might care to think about organisations that would be a good strategic fit for your company and how you can mutually benefit from the relationship. Tell me here what strategic partnerships have worked best for you and why.

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