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It had been a year since the girl with the pink balloon found the Storyteller; a year in which sales of pink balloons had soared; a year in which the girl had been promoted and a year in which Pink Balloons PLC had re-invested in expanding its whole everlasting inflatables range.

But this story could have ended very differently.

12 months earlier…

Pink Balloons PLC had developed a balloon that could stay up for ever. The boss of the company gave a young girl in the Marketing department the job of telling the world all about the amazing balloon. But the world is a big and noisy place. The girl had been at a loss as to how she might succeed until she came across the Storyteller, who shared with her the secret to success.

Excited by her discovery, the girl had raced back to her boss to share the news. She told him, as best she remembered, what the Storyteller had said.

“If we want people to get to know and love our balloon, we must find our stories. We must tell our stories in lots of different places and in lots of different ways.”

She explained how Penelope and Sophie from the PR agency could help to share the stories. How Dick and Dom in Digital, and Derek from the Direct Marketing department could all help to make sure their stories were seen by as many people as possible.

Her boss was thrilled.

“This is the solution we’ve been looking for,” he said. “Call everyone to the boardroom. I have hundreds of stories we can share.”

The entire Marketing team assembled in the boardroom and, after a brief explanation by the girl, her boss took the floor.

“I’m going to tell you lots of stories about our wonderful pink balloon and you are going to share them with the world and pink balloons are going to fly!” he announced.

And so he began.

One story was followed by another and then another. Fact followed fact, stat followed stat. On and on he spoke. Penelope delicately dropped off, Sophie sent several stupefied selfies, Dick and Dom were playing Angry Birds and Derek was snoring audibly.

“This isn’t going to work,” thought the girl.

As the boss continued flipping charts she slipped unnoticed from the room and called the Storyteller.

“Can you help us?” she asked. “We have hundreds of stories but none are as wonderful as the one you told me. “

“Put the kettle on, I’ll be right over.”

In the time it took to for the tea to brew, the Storyteller had arrived at the headquarters of Pink Balloons PLC. Introductions were made and the boss told his stories once more. Finally he stopped, and the Storyteller spoke.

“Let me tell you a story,” he said.

“I once met a girl with a pink balloon. This was no ordinary balloon, it was a balloon that could stay up forever.”

Time passed, but no one remembers how much, as the Storyteller weaved his magic and fascinating stories of the amazing pink balloon unfolded, each one more captivating than the last.

The boss smiled.

“Can you help us?”

So the Storyteller agreed to help the girl and her boss. He taught them the difference between a good story and a bad story. He taught them how to tell stories that an audience would relate to. How to make a story one that people would share. And the stories they told were magical.

And the people that heard the stories loved them so much that they shared them with their family and friends. One story became the number one Christmas TV commercial. There was even talk of a film.

And everyone came to know and love the wonderful pink balloon.

Epilogue

Not all content is made equal – let’s face it, some of it isn’t even made well.

As brand and product stories proliferate along with the channels for sharing them, simply maintaining frequency and volume is a challenge for marketers. In many companies just about everyone gets roped into storytelling – from the CEO to the intern.

Could this be the reason why it can be hard to see any brand message in the medium? Or why so much content fails to engage the consumer?

Consumers aren’t dummies – they can spot fluff and flim flam a mile off. Waste their time or bore them and they’ll let you know with stories of their own. Bad ones.

Not all stories are made equal. It takes knowledge and expertise to craft good ones. But what does it take to sustain that narrative and keep customers captivated over time?

Simple. Good stories, good storytelling and an effective content strategy.

At the fabl, we believe that compelling storytelling magically generates more good stories.

A natural at integrated marketing, content marketing has the capacity to work brilliantly with every marketing discipline from digital and direct marketing, to advertising, social media and PR.

Get it right and your audience will start telling your story too. That’s how legends are born. Contact us to find out more.