PBL Trigger 1: Storytelling in Corporate Communication

Storytelling is a phenomenon that is fundamental to all nations, societies and cultures (Denning 2005).


What are the aims of storytelling in corporate communication?

Corporate storytelling can strengthen internal and external reputation. According to Gill, R. (2011), corporate storytelling is a valuable strategy to heighten employee engagement, which may improve internal loyalty to the corporate brand and ultimately strengthen internal and external reputation. Gill, R. (2011)

Stories can be used in organizations as means to motivate people and create a message memorable enough for people to take cause and action, if there is an identified interest to the listener. (Prusak, 2001; Kaye 1996)


Branding through Storytelling

Model by Fog et al. (2005) suggests that there is an emotional bond that is created between brand, story and target group. The brand creates an “emotional connection with the consumer”, the “story speaks to our emotions” and “the target group emphasizes with the company”.


Branding is the Goal – Storytelling is the Means (Fog et al. 2005)


Benefits of storytelling

  • Appeal to culturally diverse audiences

One key benefit of storytelling is its universal appeal to culturally diverse audiences. Large organizations have a range of stakeholders. These stakeholders have a range of different interests and learning styles. Storytelling provide a flexible framework for the narrator (corporation) to reflect the organization’s position with these stakeholders (Dowling, 2006).

  • Creating an emotional bond with employees

Through stories corporations can foster trust and support for their organization by creating an emotional bond with employees and other key stakeholders. This happens as a result of explaining the behavior of the organization in terms of its mission and morality (Taliaferro & Ruggiano, 2010; Dowling, 2006).


What are the different stakeholders?

In externally directed storytelling consumer is seen as the main target group. Denning (2005) refers to the brand and storytelling as a relationship with stakeholders, such as “employees, partners, suppliers, regulators, and investors”.


How to create an effective story?

According to Dowling (2006) and Fombrun (2005), corporate stories need to have relevance and an appropriate structure to achieve intended objectives.Effective storytelling:
– Remains engaging.
– The story must stay true to the organization’s identity and brand.
– Stories must not lose sight of what the organization is, what it offers and what it stands for.


Storytelling framework (Forman, 2013)


Corporate storytelling should be authentic. It tells the truth. It should be credible, realistic, tangible and intended to be truthful.

By engaging emotions and intellect storytelling should draw the attention of stakeholders. The storytelling should be crafted to make the form of communication compelling by using available technology. These storytelling capabilities make fluent storytelling.

General and specific business objectives:
The storytelling should inform, persuade and inspire the audience while building trust with the stakeholders. The corporation should define specific business objectives.


“A great story is one that the listener can relate to, uses language that makes sense, brings in emotion, makes it visual, takes us on a journey, brings together intellect and emotion.”
Perry Yeatman, Senior Vice President of Kraft Foods


What are the impacts of/responses to storytelling?

Case Koskenkorva

Koskenkorva Vodka has recently undergone a significant rebranding. Koskenkorva made a deal with Marks & Spencer. M&S took Finnish Koskenkorva vodka to its shelves due to a YouTube advertisement. According to Helsingin Sanomat, Koskenkorva was spotted by Marks & Spencer and they got in touch with Altia. The “national vodka” is now sold in UK as a result of excellent storytelling.





Gill, R. (2011). An integrative review of storytelling: Using corporate stories to strengthen employee engagement and internal and external reputation. http://www.estrategiadelcontenido.com/doc/nots_3.pdf

Janis Forman (2013). Authenticity and Fluency for Effective Storytelling in Business http://www.prnewsonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Keynoter_Janis-Forman_SM.pdf


How Does a Company Communicate Through Storytelling? A study of the storytelling techniques used in two companies http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:132493/fulltext01

Corporate Storytelling http://www.lhn.uni-hamburg.de/article/corporate-storytelling#

Koskenkorva https://adsoftheworld.com/media/online/koskenkorva_the_village_that_cant_be_named




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