By Phil Walsh, Creative Director
June 24th 2020
Empathy, to a certain extent, is being eroded by ‘screen time’ – an activity, in all its forms, that replaces human contact with ‘digital interaction’. It’s an observation that has gathered pace as we struggle to catch up with the impacts of this recent revolution in the human story. So it’s ironic then that I’m proposing we address it with screen time. But this is where storytelling comes in.
Writing and producing creative content that empathises with the intended audience and more widely with the way many people feel, will connect with them in a positive way. It will increase your chances of gaining both attention and, all importantly, retention of the point you want to make. Storytelling based on this is a potential antidote to ‘corporate speak’ (something that happily comes up more and more in briefs as ‘something to avoid’).
Video is a format that works well when distilling messages to align with how people think, feel and what they are inspired by. So empathising from the beginning of this process gives a head-start in trying to blend the right story (narrative) with the right storytelling (creative ideas and techniques).
Take comedy for example, the best of which is often the kind that resonates with us and our experiences. Whether we have done it or seen it, if a joke or yarn fits our own observations in some way – it probably tickles our fancy. We also tend to retell these stories because they tickle our fancy and are sitting front and centre of our minds. But it’s not just humour that works well like this, its anything else that stirs emotions and energises us.
This, more than ever, is a time for empathy. We need to dig into our inner thoughts and emotions to try and understand deeply how other people feel, what their issues and perspectives are and how we can play a part in making a connection and a difference. As a society, this is hugely important and should therefore play more within a big component of our society i.e. business.
Whatever the communication, however it’s distributed, we have a wider responsibility to think carefully about how we do it and what we say, not in order to avoid PR disasters or to tow a party line, but to place ourselves in the shoes of others more often. It should not only help our businesses connect and progress positively and successfully but make us better people too. So, in the interest of people, purpose and progression, POWER YOUR STORY with empathy.