What’s your story? This is a question many of us can answer both for ourselves and the brands we create, curate and care for. How well are you utilizing storytelling to craft your brand message?

Knowing the basis for your brand story, where it comes from, and where it can go helps drive messaging momentum and meaning. A recent Advertising Age article shared that there are seven basic types of stories that explore human archetypal plots and all brand messaging can be boiled down into one or another:

  1. Overcoming the Monster
  2. Rebirth
  3. Quest
  4. Journey and Return
  5. Rags to Riches
  6. Tragedy
  7. Comedy

Seeing your company as a publishing house and sharing compelling narratives through design, motion and content is something we hope everyone is familiar with—but how to share the story across platforms and media is something more to consider. Professor Henry Jenkins (formerly of MIT, now at USC), a transmedia scholar and founder of the Convergence Culture Consortium, distills the concept further: “Transmedia storytelling represents a process where integral elements get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience.”

Learn the four key takeaways for brands and advertisers to consider in transmedia storytelling:

  1. Make stories drillable. Don’t just place across media and spread your message thin—have some avenue for deeper dives of info and insights.
  2. Each piece of a story must be enriching, but not essential, to its overall experience. With storytelling becoming less confined by distribution channels, stories are taking on fluid, reactive and flexible new forms.
  3. Recognize the power of your fans. Content creators must approach fans, where they already congregate and exist, as co-creators of their narratives, rather than barometers.
  4. Build a world, not just a story.

Now, with anytime, anywhere platforms and engagement opportunities, brands can design storytelling to be impactive and connective seamlessly and successfully across media and experiences. Consider storytelling as it relates to your customer’s decision journey and the markers guiding the way along the path. Where does your storytelling begin? How does it continue? Are there gaps, and how can your storytelling move beyond one-way communication toward ownership and advocacy via those customers that become passionate and caring about the brand?

A Harvard Business Review interview, “The Art of Purposeful Storytelling,” with Peter Gruber, chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group, shares four truths to storytelling:

  1. Be authentic in your story and how you’re sharing it.
  2. Be interested in your audience and let them own the story.
  3. Have a set goal for the story.
  4. Telling a story is an act of listening—engaging and interactive in dialogue.

Gruber goes on to say that as storytellers, “We’re all in the emotional transportation business.” That said, let’s get moving, together.