Why storytelling can communicate your social impact

Branding, Communications, Design, Digital, Digital Media

Staff Writer 9 Nov 2022
3 mins
Sign displaying a social impact statement 'We like you, too :)'

Companies today not only need to do good; they also need to tell stories about the good that they’re doing to highlight their positive social impact. 

Every day organisations are doing extraordinary things to better the world. But measuring and communicating that impact in a compelling and memorable way can be challenging. In a time when it has never been easier to access information, the challenge for organisations is to simplify and communicate their message in a way that drives engagement.

The power of storytelling

Communicating the good things your organisation is doing doesn’t have to be a number-filled annual report or dull longitudinal study. Telling the stories that highlight your organisations’ impact can be far more powerful, giving a human face to quantitative data.

To be successful at social impact storytelling, you should first understand what your organisation’s message is, as well as the interests and motivations of your audiences. Then you can create a plan and use the appropriate communications tactics and channels to successfully tell your story.

A great example of how powerful storytelling can be is outdoor clothing company, Patagonia. As a global brand in a highly competitive product category, Patagonia stands apart because of their brand activism. Patagonia focuses upon a commitment to use their business to solve environmental problems while informing customers about climate change and sustainability. The Patagonia brand itself is a call to action.

One way they do this is through real-life stories captured on film and shared through social media, website, and YouTube.

The clothing giant’s marketing success shows that brands must have a cause greater than growth and more prominent than profits, fuelled by honesty.

When you do what you believe in and build a community around it, your customers will follow you all along the way.

Four elements of effective storytelling

When you are planning your story, consider these elements:

  1. A compelling and relatable ‘character’
  2. A journey
  3. Authenticity
  4. Your organisation’s sense of purpose

What format should you use to tell the story?

The format in which a story is told is an important choice.

Compelling stories can be told across a variety of different media. From blogs and longer-form articles, to photos, infographics, and videos – there is no one-size-fits-all way to tell your story.

According to a recent McCrindle study, Australians see the most engaging forms of social impact reporting as short video summaries (47%), followed by infographics (43%) and interactive web reports (39%). These formats are preferred over articles (36%) and written reports (31%).

But ultimately, when pulling together the various assets of your story, let the story itself guide you in determining the best format. Different types of stories are more appropriate for different media.

What platform should you use to publish the story?

There are many platforms you can use to tell your story and choosing the right one depends on a range of factors, including your story’s format and your audience.

Here are some points to consider when choosing a platform to demonstrate your organisation’s social impact:

  • Gather data on your audience by looking at Facebook Insights, newsletter, and website metrics. What kind of content resonates with them? Experiment with different kinds of posts, measure the results, and incorporate the insights into your next story
  • Recognise when people share or contribute to online stories, both on social media and on your other communications channels
  • Get mileage out of a single story by varying how you post it on a single channel multiple times

Purple tells stories every day

Purple is a full-service marketing content agency with a team of skilled storytellers.

With deep-rooted expertise across video productionsocial media and website development, we establish a strong digital strategy that amplifies and produces a successful content marketing strategy.


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