Storytelling is today a method of communication to transport selected contents to customers/interested parties. In doing so, offers, services, thoughts, wishes and goals are not simply expressed, but “packaged” in a story.
But why should you as a pharmacy, rather you and your team, not simply say what you mean? Why the complicated detour via images and stories? Why say the “un-actual” instead of the “actual”?
Because it is exciting and entertaining. And because people remember messages much better this way.
In the digital age, storytelling is ONE method among many to convey content, for example, in the context of content marketing, sales or even financial management. There are plenty of other methods, so it’s all the more exciting that more and more companies in a wide variety of industries are making use of storytelling.
So you, as a local pharmacy doing storytelling, don’t just say that your overall services are more beneficial to the customer than the low prices of mail order. You tell a story, show pictures or videos that package that statement, “the actual thing.” Your potential customers (readers, listeners, viewers) need to unpack the “actual” again for it to have an impact.
So in storytelling, you don’t talk about factual data and facts, but for example in comparisons, adorned with linguistic devices (irony, metaphor, etc.). The reader/listener/viewer must “unravel” the packaging and make the right analogy between what is said and what is meant.
Storytelling is by no means new, for thousands of years people have been telling stories to achieve certain reactions or insights. In business, in child rearing, in religion, in art and culture, in ethics, and so on.
One of the most important fathers of the theory of storytelling is Aristotle. The rhetorical devices named above spring from his rhetoric. They all have in common that one does not say what one means, but something else. And this is exactly how they create attention and tension.
For storytelling to work, for stories to be understood, there absolutely must be a connection or something in common between what is said and what is meant. Otherwise, the addressee will not be able to “unpack” them in a meaningful way and recognize the “meant”.
Here’s how to approach preparing your story.
The first, most important step is to answer the following question:
What is there to tell about you or your pharmacy?
From this, make your pharmacy’s own stories!
Then, create a structure:
What do you/the storyteller want the customer to achieve with the story?
Heroes = Protagonist:
Who is the main character in the story? Is it a person, an organization or a personified product?
Your customers identify with the hero and see themselves in him.
Challenges, conflicts, resistance, new tasks that have not been solved so far create tension that evokes emotion (fear, anger, joy, desire). Without this element, the story does not work.
Phases = dramaturgy:
What follows when?
The story unfolds in three phases:
Background – Action – Outcome
At the end of a story, it is advisable to give a resolution. How did the story end? Your customers need it to find inner peace again. If you withhold the resolution from the audience, don’t be surprised if there are questions.
Then it’s on to building the story:
Phase 1 – Background:
This is where the hero/heroine of the story and the initial situation/existing situation or background is described. This part of the story answers the question: What was in the beginning?
Phase 2 – Actions:
A new circumstance creates a predicament, conflict, or a
challenge for the hero/heroine. He/she must face it and experiences ups and downs in his/her activities.
Phase 3 – Result:
In the end, the hero succeeds (or sometimes fails). The tension is resolved. Phase 3 is the place for a logical argument or a call to action.
By the way, Aristotle already referred to the three phases in Dialectical Rhetoric (Phase 1 – Ethos- the character of the hero, Phase 2 – Pathos, the emotional journey and Phase 3 – Logos, the argument).
And here is a simple example (which you underline with a photo, depending on the medium):
Susi Sorglos, 31 years old, is a young mother with a preference for natural medicine and digital purchases. She always orders homeopathic, over-the-counter medicines for her 2-year-old daughter Sarah and other medicines for herself and her husband online from a mail-order pharmacy.
Late in the evening of February 12, her daughter develops a fever and it continues to rise, despite calf wraps and Belladonna globules. She can’t get any fever-reducing remedies sent on such short notice via the Internet pages of her favorite mail-order company. And the live chat is no longer manned at this hour. Perplexed and worried, she considers taking Sarah to the hospital, but then calls her mother. She listens to her and asks in amazement: “Tell me, why haven’t you been to the nearest emergency pharmacy? There you can get advice even at night and, above all, you can get the medicines you need right away.”
Susi looks on the Internet and within seconds finds our address in the list of emergency pharmacies in her district. Her husband leaves immediately and is back home within 30 minutes with a fever-reducing juice for small children.
An hour later: Sarah is sleeping peacefully, her fever has already dropped significantly and she makes a relaxed impression. Feeling good, Susi and her husband also go to sleep reassured – inspired by the certainty that they will ALWAYS find help and advice from us.