What’s the story?

Chris Morgan

Senior Creative Designer

Storytelling as a form of communication is as old as the hills. Even before we first fell out of the trees and experimented with bipedal locomotion, disclosing important information to pass on to the next generation is a core reason we’re all still here today. From ‘Don’t stick your hand in that hot orange stuff, it won’t end well’, to ‘That cuddly-looking big furry thing has sharp teeth, remember what happened to uncle Dave?’, our behaviour is in part inherited, but also influenced by those around us with important messages and an effective method of conveying them.

Fast-forward a few millennia and the information age is dominated by the microchip and printing press. We are bombarded with data and information during every waking hour, via everything from smartphones to TVs and computers, and this crowded landscape is only going to get busier. Because of this consumers feel overloaded, and apathy has become commonplace as attention spans have dwindled. The healthcare sector is no exception.

So how do you ensure your message can be heard over all this noise?

Ashfield Digital & Creative’s answer to this is storytelling. We share this methodology with audiences through our latest animation where we highlight the importance of storytelling as an effective marketing tool, and outline its strengths in ensuring your message or data stand out in the crowd. Good stories are memorable and immersive; viewers who can relate to a character or narrative are more likely to feel connected and engaged, and thus take away the key points within.

A common mistake in scientific and medical communications is the assumption that stats and data are in themselves enough to engage the target audience and bring about a desired behaviour change. What lies at the core of all of this information are real human stories, and the potentially life-altering effects a new treatment or research area can have on a patient’s quality of life. If we are task­­ed with making a doctor aware of this new treatment and may only have their attention for a short space of time, it is our responsibility to ensure we create a memorable and immersive experience that will resonate long after they’ve viewed it, and be at the forefront of their mind when they next see the patient.

That said, we do have to be careful in healthcare that we strike the right tone; often we are telling sensitive stories, perhaps detailing the journey ahead for a newly diagnosed patient, and we have to deal cautiously with the information and the narrative we employ. When executed correctly, however, important messages can be imparted in a timely and effective manner. If the audience takes away the intended knowledge from an experience and it has either answered, or created more questions, then we have done our job properly.

Storytelling is nothing new, but in an age of shouting at consumers and throwing information in their faces, it can quietly and confidently put your message across with a much more compelling and powerful outcome.

If you’d like us to help create impact with your story, then we’d love to hear from you.

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