Why SMEs in the industrial sector need storytelling

Talent crunch, digital transformation and the growing influence of social media – technology companies are faced with many challenges when it comes to leaving a lasting impression with their stakeholders. A current study has looked at the question whether all this leads to more storytelling in corporate communication.

100 core stories, an interdisciplinary approach combining PR, brand communication and the analysis of narrative copy as well as the five most important values of a story – this was the set-up of an in-depth analysis of corporate storytelling as practiced by medium-sized companies in the industrial sector.

The results revealed many highlights but also the opposite. Often, proper narrative elements are missing and companies make do with chronicles that are purely based on facts. Thus, values and products lack in differentiation and do not stay in mind. In the worst case, recipients are left with a vague sensation of interchangeability.

A positive and something to work with is that many of these industrial companies bank on their founders’ stories. Connecting this with the archetypal plots of, e.g., the underdog who makes it in business or transformation, very powerful communication can be created.

Good stories abound and are up for grabs, such as innovative technologies coming to life by focussing on the people that developed, for example, a particular product and telling the stories behind the story. When it comes to change and transformation, storytelling provides the opportunity to communicate the vision in such a way that orientation is provided and stakeholders are taken on a company’s journey.