Storytelling. The what, why and how.

Storytelling isn’t new.  In fact, it has been part of human life for as long as we’ve been communicating with one another.  Storytelling is one of the earliest forms of entertainment, a way of connecting with others, sharing experiences and values and building relationships.

Fast forward to today. Storytelling is part of our society in all sorts of ways.  It still exists as part of all of our relationships but also as entertainment – think of the comedians such as Peter Kay, Billy Connelly, Victoria Wood – all known for their brilliant storytelling.

In the past few years, there has been a trend for key figures in popular culture to tell ‘their story’, often doing tours of theatres across the country.  Astronaut Tim Peake, explorers Ben Fogle, Levison Wood and Sir Ranulph Fiennes to name but a few. After dinner speaking is also a popular way to boost industry award ceremonies or corporate conferences and the list of public figures who offer this storytelling service is very extensive!

What makes storytelling so special?

We connect to stories on an emotional level. They are often honest, sometimes raw, always human. This makes them relatable, inspiring, motivational and above all, memorable.

Storytelling has been used successfully in advertising for many years, perhaps one of the most famous is Renault’s ‘Papa, Nicole’ TV advert which ran in the 1990’s and gave a heart-warming and charming story around their model Clio.  In 2019 a new Renault Clio campaign ran, this time telling a beautiful story of two girls who meet as friends and fall in love over the course of their lives with the Renault Clio as the constant thread through their story.

In recent times, storytelling has been used in marketing through all communication channels, not just advertising.  It’s become a key part of the mix in the way that brands talk about themselves and/or their products or services. Comparison site Go Compare has created a whole story around its fictional character, Italian opera singer Gio Compario which makes an ordinary service much more interesting, entertaining and memorable.  Gio is carried through every channel from the TV ads to press, radio, social media and the website.

Not just for big brands

You don’t have to be a big brand with a large budget to use storytelling techniques.  For small and medium sized organisations, storytelling can be just as powerful and can be activated brilliantly through all communications channels. Central for most SME’s is their website. The hub for information (internal and external), data and communication and is the perfect arena for storytelling.

Using your website to tell your story

Your website is your space to own. We often refer to it as the shop window for your organisation, a place for clients, customers, potential or existing to have a peek into your world.  However, when you engage in storytelling techniques, you can actually bring much more meaning to that initial visit. You can let the user into your world to understand what drives you, how it feels to work with you or experience what you do in an immersive and engaging way all led by storytelling.

Things to consider when building your story:
  • Establish what you want to say and why. Your story might be about you as founders, how the organisation came about or your ethics and values.  Or, perhaps it’s the story behind your products or services, or a mixture.
  • Tell your story. This could be through words, images, film, music, design  or a combination. Be authentic and emotional. Use language which reflects you as a brand and appeals to your audience.
  • Think about how best to present this story on your website. Is it through a dedicated section? Or woven through the entire site?
  • Consider taking the key messages of your story and bringing them to life in different ways throughout the site.

Some great examples to help you to figure out your own story:


Using great copy and imagery to bring the culture of a company alive:


Telling the brand story through the entire website:


Using storytelling to explain how the company came about:


Using storytelling when stories are your product:

Can we help?

We are Olamalu, Drupal experts and experienced web developers. We’re a friendly and down to earth team based in West Oxfordshire, who work together to achieve brilliant outcomes. We’ve been developing websites and designing tailormade tech solutions including apps for a huge range of different challenges for over 10 years.  

We work with many of our clients as an ongoing technical partner, but we also offer a consultancy service to solve a specific strategic challenge.

March 2023