All indicators are pointing to the growing importance of storytelling in the intertwined social media, PR and advertising worlds. In fact, one could go as far as claiming that storytelling is one of the current buzz words in online and offline marketing as proven by the recent attention it has drawn from sources as varied as Hubspot, Simply Zesty, Fast Company, Social Media Today and many other quality blogs and publications. All predictions are indicating that digital storytelling is on the way up as one of the most proven and valuable tactics and techniques to engage with communities and improve the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
It would be short-sighted for personal branding to ignore this growing trend. There are no philosophical or practical impediments for storytelling to become an integral part of personal branding and great benefits to be derived by incorporating storytelling into personal branding strategies for individuals of all walks of life. And – as we are about to see – we are in luck since storytelling does in fact blend in beautifully with all things personal branding without in any way cheapening, distorting or compromising its founding principles or values. Our personal and professional biographies are indeed stories waiting to be told in the best possible light; and connecting with someone else’s story and even presenting our own is often a cathartic experience that does not leave us indifferent and contributes to our growth.
In a remarkably clever and practical way, storytelling is a wonderful addition to any deserving CV or résumé. Indeed, lack of storytelling is one of the hurdles to establish a credible personal brand on that ever-important document. When we merely list a number of functions, skills or achievements without weaving and integrating all those multifarious elements into a coherent narrative, headhunters and employers are left with the task of making sense of what at first glance is just another disjointed collection of skills and fragments of personal history amongst many; and that can heavily impinge on our chances of making an impact. The clever use of storytelling presents both our talents and our legitimate aspirations on a silver platter to potential employers: without doubt this is of great help to simplify the recruiting process and increase our chances of getting hired.
Needless to say, storytelling per se is no guarantee of success unless it is supported by facts and figures and every effort must be made to construct a radically honest and credible narrative without in any way renouncing to our hopes and dreams for the future.
And yet in a deeper sense storytelling should go beyond the biographical and enter the realm of the archetypal. We are witnessing renewed interest in the symbolic and mythical dimensions behind ancient and modern archetypes and their cultural and psychological applications and benefits. Ancient mythology is making a comeback – as recent blockbusters like Immortals are there to prove – and with reason. The de-sacralization and secularization of our post-modern societies has emptied our lives of meaning, and in our journeys to wholeness (what Jung described as the process of individuation) encounters with stories as they appear in myths, art and indeed our dreams are of incalculable value.
The ancients knew what personal branding has claimed in the XXI century: that we are all called to become the heroes of our own lives. And part and parcel of that seemingly titanic task is to make sense of our life stories and work with them in the building up of our personal brands and in our mapmaking adventure to becoming better professionals and more rounded human beings. And that will always be quite a story to tell or listen to.
Oscar Del Santo is a lecturer, consultant, key speaker, blogger and populariser of online reputation and inbound marketing in Spain. He has been extensively featured in the Spanish and Latin American media and is a regular contributor to several TV programs. Included in the ‘Top 70 Spanish Tweeters’ and ‘Best Marketing Tweeters in Spanish’ lists (@OscarDS), he is the author of ‘Reputacion Online para [email protected]’.