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Storytelling is key to producing a good corporate story: Veit Etzold

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By Ishbel Macleod, PR and social media consultant

December 1, 2011 | 2 min read

ESMT business school programme director and novelist Veit Etzold has said that companies often bore their stakeholders with uninspiring literature, reports and presentations, with important messages being lost or ignored.

Etzold believes that captivating corporate storytelling is a key tool that many firms are not utilising. He suggests that they key to a successful company story is to provide a hero, a villain and a happy ending.

He said: “The obvious example in this case is to look at Apple.

“In their company story IBM and Microsoft were the villains and Apple were the good guys, the plucky upstarts. And this subtext was weaved into all their internal and external communications. The same can be said for the Boston Consulting Group. In their corporate story McKinsey are the bad guys and BCG painted themselves as the underdog. The happy ending is often easy to create if you present circumstances outside the company’s control as the villain – the global economy for example. Then, the company can say that ‘despite everything that has been against us, we have prevailed’.

“Even financial reports can benefit from a storytelling approach, it’s vital information and people would take more notice if it was a bit more interesting to read.”

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