Brand Storytelling Made Easy with These 5 Story Elements

5 min read
Featured Image

Storytelling shouldn't be another thing that weighs you down. You already tell stories daily. So, let's simplify storytelling for your marketing with these five basic story elements.

Focusing on these elements can improve your storytelling without overcomplicating the process, regardless of whether your story is intended for onstage, written, or video.

The Five Elements of Engaging Stories:

  1. Have a start, middle, and ending
  2. Share specific details
  3. Communicate emotion
  4. Embrace conflict and challenges
  5. Know your audience

These elements make storytelling engaging and effective, helping you connect with your audience and showcase your organization’s impact.

Download Our Free Story Elements Checklist!

We've created a handy PDF checklist to make it even easier for you to implement these elements. Use it as a quick reference to ensure your stories are always engaging and effective.

Download the Story Elements Checklist

Have a start, middle, and ending.

Photo by Jordan on Unsplash

This story element is about structure. Think of a story as a journey with a clear beginning, middle, and end. A story has more plot points, but these three are foundational to understanding the big picture.

  • Beginning: Orientate and engage your audience.
  • Middle: Develop the journey.
  • Ending: Concludes the story.

Much like a well-structured joke, a well-told story keeps the audience engaged and delivers a satisfying payoff. Start with the basics, and you can always add more layers later.

For Nonprofits: Begin with a person or community affected by an environmental issue, describe the steps taken to address the problem, and conclude with the positive impact of your work.

For Cleantech Companies: Start with the challenge your technology aims to solve, illustrate the development and implementation process, and finish with the result or change your solution brings.

Share Specific Details

In our micro-documentary, Ripple of Cars, Joe shares an experience of feeling bad for his daughter's friend biking home from work. Just reading that falls flat. But when Joe details the time of day and 10-degree weather, a detailed image is painted in your brain.

Details add texture and make your story come alive. Imagine standing close to a painting and noticing the intricate brushstrokes. Similarly, specific details in your story can captivate your audience’s imagination. Details enrich the story and experience for your audience.

For example, describe the biting 10-degree weather they endured instead of just saying someone felt cold. These details enrich the story and make it more relatable.

For Nonprofits: Highlight specific events, locations, and personal experiences to make the story vivid and relatable.

For Cleantech Companies: Use technical details and real-world applications to illustrate how your technology works and its benefits.

Communicate Emotion

Reducing Medical Waste, Environmental Initiative Award Recipient Story created by BairStories

This story element doesn't mean you have to cry to convey emotion. Communicating emotion is about being vulnerable and open. Embracing vulnerability in your storytelling helps foster a connection with your audience.

In the video story above, we started with vulnerability to build a connection to give viewers a reason to care about Geoffrey’s recycling Styrofoam initiative.

Emotions make stories relatable and memorable. When your characters express their feelings, they give your audience a reason to care. This helps them see the humanity in your story and connect on a deeper level. Think about how you can show emotions in your stories to build a stronger connection with your audience.

For Nonprofits: Share the emotional journey of the people or communities impacted by your work.

For Cleantech Companies: Show the passion and dedication of your team, as well as the relief or joy of those benefiting from your solutions.

Embrace Conflict and Challenges

A founder/origin story created for Klarhet by BairStories

Conflict and challenges are essential for creating tension and keeping your audience engaged.

They prompt the question, "What will happen next?" This element is crucial for maintaining interest and providing a satisfying resolution. Don’t shy away from discussing challenges. They add depth and make the payoff more gratifying.

For Nonprofits: Discuss your company challenges or the challenges of the topic you're sharing.

For Cleantech Companies: Describe your company's challenges or the obstacles in developing and implementing your technology.

Know Your Audience

Tailoring your story to your audience ensures it resonates with them. Think about who your audience is and what they care about. This helps you craft a story that is relevant and impactful.

Whether you share your story with your grandmother or your daughter, adjust your storytelling to fit their perspective and interests.

For Nonprofits: Understand the values and concerns of your supporters and tailor your stories to reflect those.

For Cleantech Companies: Know your stakeholders' technical background and priorities and adapt your narrative accordingly.

These 5 Story Elements Are About Connection

Focusing on these five basic elements can improve your environmental storytelling without overly complicating it. These elements foster a connection between your audience, story, and organization. Start with these and build a strong foundation for engaging and effective storytelling.

As you work on your next story, use this simple checklist to ensure your storytelling is impactful and engaging.

Download and keep this checklist handy for your storytelling efforts.

Check the articles below for more storytelling tips to dive deeper into the elements above.

We're a Minnesota-based storytelling agency following the story wherever it takes us.

© Copyright BairStories.