Who needs a Chief Storytelling Officer anyway?

By Alex Sheehan

The idea of storytelling for business has been buzzing around for a while now, some organisations have immersed themselves and jumped straight in to the deep-end while others are dipping their toes in at the shallows.

But is the Chief Storytelling Officer just another toy for marketing and comms teams to play with? Or will this role stand the test of time?

The Evidence 

Nike employed a Chief Storytelling Officer back in the 1999 BT. “Our stories are not about extraordinary business plans or financial manipulations . . . they’re about people getting things done,” Nike’s then Chief Storytelling Officer Nelson Farris told Fast Company in 1999

SAP hired its own chief storyteller back in 2013,  Even tech start-ups such as Etsy are appointing chief storytelling officers to make sure their brand stories are told in the right way.

Steve Clayton is Microsoft’s Chief Storyteller and responsible for company storytelling both internally and externally with a mission to change the perception of Microsoft through stories. Steve believe’s that in this era of being bombarded information and data, stories are what stick.

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So what does a Chief Storyteller do?

The role of the Chief Storytelling Officer is to tell engaging stories about the business. These stories connect employees, drive brand awareness, personify your brand, entice people to engage and ultimately drive business growth. Every company has hurdles and hurts in some way, stories have a way of overcoming obstacles.

So now you’re thinking, yeah, yeah that makes sense but…

Is a Chief Storytelling Officer *really* necessary?

While posing that question why not ask yourself,

  • Do you want to solve big problems within your organisation?
  • Do you want to appeal to people’s needs?
  • Do you want an emotional connection to your target client?
  • Do you want them coming back for more?

Then the answer is yes, you need one. 

Because a great story can solve problems and can overcome obstacles. A great tory can identify, arouse and excite people’s needs – forcing them to act. A great story demands attention and forms an emotional connection.  A great story keeps them coming back for more.

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However a single figurehead for storytelling in a business does not go far enough. Organisations should empower everyone to incorporate the power stories into their working day. Everyone from customer service to senior management should contribute to your company story and share that story with anyone they meet.

We have helped some of Irelands best organisations work on their stories, get in touch for case studies, testimonials and to find out how we can help you. Give Gaye a call on 01 254 1845.




Alex Sheehan

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