The recent dramatisation of the OJ Simpson story makes compelling viewing – not because we want to find out what happens in the end (we all know that) but because it explains how he got off when there seemed such a mountain of evidence against him.
‘We’re here to tell a story,’ says Simpson’s attorney Johnnie Cochran (played by actor Courtney B Vance), ‘Our job is to tell our story better than the other side tells theirs.’
It’s a simple tactic and one that obviously paid off with the jury – in this dramatised version, at least.
Storytelling is as important to public relations as it is to winning court room battles. If you want to communicate a message, change behaviours or build support then you need to tell a good story. Don’t make it up – just make it as interesting and easy to follow as possible.
The importance of this struck me when following the debate at North Yorkshire County Council’s planning committee last week. They were deciding whether or not to approve a ‘fracking’ application by Third Energy. The Daily Telegraph’s live blogging energy editor Emily Gosden reported there were a staggering 48 different speakers opposing the application - and just 14 speaking in support.
Was fielding this many opposition speakers a wise way to tell their story? Especially when one of the lengthier presentations was described by a member of the planning committee as: “very long and very technical, and very difficult to follow.”
The application was eventually approved so - regardless of the ‘facts’ presented by each side - perhaps the tale told by the comparatively small number of speakers in support was simply an easier story to follow?
Camargue always takes a methodical, strategic approach to advising our clients – and we make no apology for this scientific view of what makes a good communication plan. But if you dig right down, often what we are really aiming to do is simply to help you tell a better, more compelling story.