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Story & Narrative – From Rendering to Recital

Authored by Ankoor Dasguupta, Vice President – Brand Solutions | Marketing | Special Projects, SHEROES

We all thrive on stories built on powerful and deep narratives.

Did your Story Collide with the Narrative? Do you feel at times that we use the words story and narrative as per our convenience? Do you feel at times the story was weak, but the narrative was good or either way round? Do you feel at times we have made these words more of jargons rather than the essence of it? If yes, then thankfully I am not the only one.

I sometimes get too reporter-like and just casually report the facts of a story, which is not the most interesting thing to read! I often must stop and think about what I’m trying to say, in order to make it a more interesting story to read, and really think about the scene I want to describe. Good storytelling is so powerful!

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I would say- story is a set of events created by a narrative or narratives with the sole purpose of an audience who are willing to keep wanting to know ‘what happened next’

The actual feeling of what a story is in relation to its audience, how storytelling should be and how a narrative is formed what I recollect clearly even after more than 3 decades, when my grandfather used to tell me stories at night. The best I have come across. He used to keep me as the protagonist, build characters out of the blue, juxtaposed one event to other seamlessly and surprisingly he had the ability to continue the story again where he used to remember the names of the characters. Be it a short one-time story or long episodes, he defined That was something I was not willing to miss listening to any day.

‘Collaborative communities’ share a distinctive set of values, which is better known as ethic of contribution. It accords the highest value to people who look beyond their specific roles and advance the common purpose being cognizant of and harnessing their own ‘capacity’, ‘imagination’, ‘connection’ with an innate need to feel the story within them and keep revisiting the propensity.

The narrative is the choice of which elements to relate and in which order compose the manifestation of the story.

Here are five elements I feel are essential ingredients of nurturing the relationship of a Story with its Narrative. A reflection of what the universe keeps giving.

Who is the story – for any story to be a narrative-rich one, one needs to understand the plot, the feel and probable ways that the story may be received by the audience. Some amount of research helps, along with working with the right team to debate on perspectives and arrive at answering the question ‘Who is your story’ rather than ‘what is your story’. That essentially brings us to the next point.

Deep, Deeper, Deepest: the level of connect – Only if this point was not- complex! But it is. Narratives are not easy. Do every time we want the deepest connect or at times, we may need just the ‘right amount’ of connect to build a series of connected stories? asking this question is important. In a lot of creative decision making we think one creative and that one moment of connect. At times, think on a larger story that can be built over a period with closely defining ‘Deep’ to ‘Deeper’ to ‘Deepest’ level of connect. That ways you allow that time your audience needs to build trust towards your narrative, without you forcing in the story.

Story-showing rather than storytelling – Show it (be it in writing or video) and it becomes one level deeper automatically for your audience. Here we are talking about not only touching their minds but now ‘percolating’ their heart. ‘Story showing’, probably in the league of jargons now, when done right, brings the audience closer to the action along with deepening the tone and mood. Daily soaps are known to do this (though in extremely irritatingly slow motion)

Relevance – A abused word I would say. Abstract exposition without substantial imagery does not help. And the challenge is getting it closest to clicking with the audience which gradually correlates to ROI. To stay relevant, we need to be cognizant of the where data, tech and creativity can marry and well, stay married!

Be prepared for learnings – Not every story is a success. But every story brings in learnings. Accept learnings, keep working towards the audience connect, keep in touch with the raw narratives of various cultures and communities and never let the story and the narrative stay away from each other.

To summarize in one sentence, narrative is the ‘thickening agent’ for a story. Build it with a combination of heart and mind to keep nurturing and thriving from rendering to recital.

About the Author

A passionista at heart, Ankoor believes in the power of Energy & Energize. He brings with him a pedigree of 19 years across the full spectrum of print, digital, mobile, event productions along with C-Suite relationship. From Brand Solutions, marketing, operations, client servicing from processes design, change management, pilot project and evangelizing, Ankoor drives Return on Relationships. An avid writer and a speaker, having spoken at DMA Asia, Marketing Analytics Summit, IAMAI Mobile 10-X, 81st DMA CXO Roundtable, Ankoor is working with SHEROES wearing the hat of Vice President -Brands, Marketing & Special Projects. Ankoor’s philosophy of life is let the element of humour be alive. We get too serious at times!

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