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Is CSI missing the plot in engaging audiences?

Categories: ALL THE NEWS , HEADLINES, Transformation
Companies are failing to meaningfully engage their audiences on CSI
This is due to a lack of understanding on storytelling and social media. This was the overarching sentiment of a CSI Dialogue on storytelling and social media hosted by Kaelo Engage this week in Johannesburg.

Speaking at the breakfast, Sarah Campbell, Kaelo Engage MD said “Given that most organisations do not budget adequately for the communicating their CSI, it is imperative that what little spend there is, is used in the most compelling way.” Having told over 600 stories over the past 8 years through Kaelo Stories of Hope, Kaelo Engage have mastered the art of telling authentic South African CSI stories.


Harnessing the power of storytelling

The dialogue highlighted how stories are threads that connect human beings to one another. When organisations seek to tell their CSI story, they need to find what will make the audience identify with the story being told. People relate to stories about other people, not brands. Companies are quick to talk about themselves, instead of telling the human stories about their beneficiaries and NGO partners. In addition, the story must be emotionally compelling and entertaining for your potential audience care about or listen to what you want to get across.
 
Differentiating your story

A concern raised at the dialogue is that CSI stories can seem to morph into one, with very littleseparating one from another. Campbell highlighted the importance of differentiating your CSI story from the clutter.  “Look at what type of story you want to tell. Is it an origin story - how you started, why, what drove you and what makes you different, a success story - how have you excelled, do you have a case study with references and quotes from others, an obstacle story - what did you have to overcome, what innovative route did you take, a people story - who works for and with you, what are your and their personal hopes and aspirations or a future story - creating a vision of the future where change has happened. 
The key ingredients of a good story

When you are telling your story, through whichever medium you choose, there are five key elements to consider.
·         Who is the protagonist? Focus on the beneficiaries of your project and make it about an individual, with the team behind the scenes a secondary focus.
·         Create the setting or context. What is the compelling reason for your story to be told? Give your audience information, background, facts and statistics.
·         What is the conflict? What is going on? What is the plot of your story? Use visuals here to create a picture; in conflict there is action.
·         What is the climax? What happened and what changed? And how does this relate to me and my business? What was the tipping point?
·         What is the outcome? How was the particular need resolved and what is next?
 
Tapping into social media

Digital and social media strategist, Walter Pike engaged that audience by showing them how the age-old tradition of storytelling still has a place in the era of social media. Pike demonstrated how social media can be an effective platform to extend the reach of your story. “Everyone has the capacity to tell stories now”, stated Pike, “so you need to think more deeply about how your story is packaged and how easily it can be shared”. Lastly, participants in the dialogue were encouraged to avoid merely broadcasting information and to startcreating discussions around social issues. In this way, companies can experiencedeeper engagement with their audiences in telling stories of social development and positive social change. 
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