On the importance of long term thinking

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Over the past few years I’ve been involved in quite a few different storytelling projects. Some of them have been in the corporate field – helping companies tell the stories of the products, projects or people in ways that reflect the values and principles of said company. Increasingly I’ve also been happy to try to encourage a recognition of the fact that we all need to think long-term to cope with the pace and demands of today’s world.

Most people are in agreement today that storytelling is an integral part of any company’s identity. The craft and skill – and even art – of telling an engaging and informative story is more in demand today than ever before. The platforms used vary with the targets groups we want to reach and with the stories we want to tell, but the story (or stories) are at the heart of what we try to achieve.

I read an article the other day where the script writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely talked about their work with the world and the story arcs of Marvel, in connection with the latest Captain America movie. In it, they talk about long-term storytelling and about how the different parts of the Marvel universe necessarily affect each other – and do so in a positive, organic, sometimes unintentional way, that gives rise to new stories that are utterly believable and engaging.

The same goes for corporate storytelling today. In order to have an audience to pay attention to a brand message we need a strong story. But in order for the audience to fully immerse themselves in what the company, brand, product or service is about, we need interconnected stories that support each other and build over the long run.

Yes, a great 30 second spot is a great 30 second spot, but if they grow from a common story world, the next image, blog post, article, video, billboard or interview will build on the story from that brilliant ad, or at the very least enhance the strength of the story world they all have in common.

Think not of the people you want to reach, think of the people you want them to reach. And think not of the people you want to reach tomorrow, think of the people you want to reach a year from now.

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2 thoughts on “On the importance of long term thinking

  1. Spot on.
    As a storyteller I can relate to this 100%.
    And this is the moment to start thinking both strategically and creatively, but this is something hard to explain to clients.
    Marvel’s example is quite good in this regard, also to explain transmedia and other ways of engagement.

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