“When a manager decides his goal is to increase revenues by 15%, and he thus communicates his goal to his team, they do not really care about it,” says Dr Jacek Wasilewski. Storytelling is a way to say the same thing much better.
Dr Jacek Wasilewski He works at the Journalism and Political Sciences Department at Warsaw University, where he specialises in media rhetoric and message effectiveness. At the University of Social Sciences and Humanities (SWPS) he specialises in media message semiotics and cultural models of using the media. Script writer for documentaries, author of social campaigns.

Why do companies need storytelling?
There are several reasons. First, people comprehend the world in a narrative way. We are not a catalogue of values or a set of impulses. We need the world to make sense and stories are a good way to achieve this. We generally don’t like hard work, but if we get a story about its meaning, when we hear we’ll be admired for it, or that we do it for our children or in the name of God – we take up the effort without complaining.
Second, a good narration allows the consumer to combine the product with his or her life experience, dreams, identity. This is when the product becomes something more than a thing. It becomes part of the consumer’s identity. This creates a bond and long-lasting loyalty.
The third reason is – a story makes the brand interesting: you can tell about the consumer’s adventures with the brand on end. What’s more, the customer will tell the rest by him or herself.
What are the key elements of a brand story?
Storytelling as a marketing method has several levels, or various stages of developing a brand. The first two are the message and the conflict (the story’s motor): what the brand is all about. Many brands forget about the fact that in addition to their own strong points they also need to determine their antagonist. For example, Lego’s goal is creative play, and its antagonist is passive entertainment. Without a good conflict the brand is lifeless, it has no story to tell, there’s no tension. A conflict is expressed by characters: it can be a product, it can be the consumer, celebrities with a given image, or it can be the company. The character is then fitted into the plot. Today, the usual character is the consumer – we tell about his or her life.
The choice of an enemy – the source of the conflict – is key. If the conflict isn’t right, the brand may be known, but we won’t put it into our shopping basket because it does not let us win anything or fight for anything. It remains a product we pass by.
How do we find the right enemy?
Just look around you. Take Vic Gundotra, one of Google’s vice presidents, who explained that the company had to create Android because: “If we never decided to react, our future would be sad, ruled by one man, one phone and one operator. We don’t want the world to look like that.”. He could have said that Google simply wants to enter the smartphone market. The story of a conflict with Apple was attractive not only to employees, but also to consumers, who of course do not want to live under the oppression of a brand with an incomplete apple. Storytelling is a method based on finding a good conflict, message and company values.
Good narrative allows the consumer to combine the product with his or her life experience, dreams, identity. This is when the product becomes something more than a thing. It becomes part of the consumer’s identity.
The text appeared in the magazine Content Marketing Polska 2012.