Why do we watch movies? Why do we listen to podcasts and read biographies?
We could look at a list of facts and figures to take in the same information but, we love a good story. Stories stick where facts are forgotten. Stories help us understand concepts and remember information. They touch our emotions, and grab and maintain attention.
When working with clients, we tease out stories for all these reasons. A nature centre could simply post eco-facts on their walls or an expo client could place their products on a table. But, without a story, an audience won’t connect with or care about these displays. Because of stories, brands like Disney sell billions of dollars of merchandise. Stories weave simple nylon shifts into priceless princess dresses.
If you feel that we might be onto something here, and it’s worth thinking about your story and how you’ll tell it…we have a few suggestions.
1. Suss out who you are. What’s your story? Write down what makes you / your business / your centre / your park unique. Think about what story or stories best capture your unique attributes. Embrace what’s special about you. Don’t copy someone else’s display thinking it can tell your story.
2. Figure out who your target audience is. Create a persona (or character) who reflects that audience. Think about their geographic, demographic and psychographic – where are they from, how old are they, what do they like to do, what are their communication preferences…?
3. Bearing in mind your target audience, connect your stories to their lives. Hone your story with relatable language, situations and settings. Paint a picture with rich details and compelling images. Include audio, sensory language and direct quotes. Even monsters and martians are relatable in the right hands.
4. Now, marry the stories to media. Pick the right display (media) that reflects you and your stories. Media encompasses everything from a piece of paper to a LED wall. We like to spoil our clients with media options but, we’ll also steer you to your stories match. So if you’re all about bird calls or symphonic sounds, we won’t skimp on audio. If you sell the most beautiful bikes, we will build you plinths to showcase your story. Before we start designing or building though, we want your wonderful stories.
Space is a big subject. Technically speaking, it’s infinite. So when our client wanted an exhibit on the subject, we needed a story. Framing the narrative around a space shuttle helped us create a relatable, approachable display. (Charleville Cosmos Centre)