Imagination holds the key

I saw a really interesting story this week about how the best-selling author Nick Hornby is setting up a series of workshops know as ‘The Ministry of Stories’. The Ministry of Stories will be funded by the Arts Council and will involve a number of famous authors, including Zadie Smith and Roddy Doyle, teaching children from the age of eight how to inject flair and imagination into storytelling. The scheme’s aim is to help encourage and inspire “a nation of storytellers”.

I think this is a fantastic idea and a news story that really grabbed my attention. Children have such wonderful imaginations and by encouraging them to write stories, songs, poems and blogs with the help of some brilliant literary figures will be a very interesting experiment.

It’s great to think that the children who benefit from The Ministry of Stories might one day go on to be involved in the literary world themselves.  However, they could just as easily go on and make a name for themselves in the business and marketing worlds, too.

Storytelling is a very powerful tool, particularly in marketing, and there are a vast array of books on the subject. Many marketing experts, including Mitch Joel, Seth Godin and Tom Peters have talked about how companies and brands that tell great stories are those that are more likely to be successful. Human beings have told tales for thousands of years (consider the cave paintings going back as far as 100,000 years!) because humans love to hear interesting, exciting, moving, scary or sad stories. We can relate to stories and connect with the people and situations in them because people love to know about people.

In business, stories can be used to illustrate the value of you and your product, and if told correctly, can help a business to earn trust and credibility in an increasingly sceptical society. But the stories must be subtle, appeal to people’s emotions and be aimed at a specific audience. If a story is too broad and aimed at ‘everyone’, then it will become diluted and a lot less effective.

Storytelling in business is a great way of differentiating yourself from your competitors by using innovative ways of  capturing the public’s imagination. It’s not about insincerity, but about getting your company’s message out there in a way that connects with the target audience.

The bright young minds who will benefit from The Ministry of Stories could certainly play their part in companies’ storytelling in the years ahead, that is if they decide to go on to be a marketer as opposed to a literary great! Either way, I hope the Ministry of Stories is a huge success and inspires children and young adults to open their minds and produce brilliant storytelling, whether it be factual or fictional.

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2 Responses to “Imagination holds the key”

  1. Suzanne Vara Says:

    Gavin

    I was attracted to this article first by the photo. My son is 5 and has such a beautiful mind when it comes to playing with is lego men. These poor guys do so many things in a day but the imagination is just amazing. Naturally he is not alone as so many children have a mind that is so open and so ready to learn, visualize and interpret what is going on around them.

    I have to thank you for this article as the Ministry of Stories is something that I want to introduce a remarkable 10 yr old (my friends’ daughter who has been already writing guest posts on blogs) to as she is, even at her young age, so incredibly gifted in her writing.

    Once again I am grateful to Chris Brogan as he allowed you to find me and through that you will have given an opportunity to a young child to expand her mind and grow her writing.

    @SuzanneVara

    • Gavin Llewellyn Says:

      Hi Suzanne. Thank you very much for leaving such a lovely comment on my blog post. I’m really pleased you liked what I wrote and that I could help in some way. My brother and I used to love playing with Lego when we were children as it’s such good fun (even now!) and you can be really imaginative with it. Just look at Legoland!

      It would be great if your son and especially your friend’s 10 yr old daughter could benefit from the Ministry of Stories as I think it’s a wonderful project. If they do get involved I would love to get an update from you as to how it goes. To see a young child grow as an aspiring writer would be brilliant to see!

      I’d like to say that I’m also grateful to Chris Brogan as without him it may have been longer until I connected with you (I’m sure I would have found you eventually but he speeded up the process!). It will be great reading your blog and seeing your tweets.

      Thank you again for the comment and I wish your son and your friend’s daughter all the best!

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