26 Trade Secrets revealed: Stories at Work

What can Star Wars characters teach us about brands? That was the question posed by Al Robertson in a workshop on the power of stories in corporate communications – held, appropriately enough, on May 4th. Jill Hopper reveals the top secrets she picked up on the day.

Al understands how stories work on many levels – he’s a sci fi novelist, screenwriter and brand consultant. In a lively two-hour session titled Stories at Work he used Yoda, Darth Vader and other well-loved figures from the blockbuster movie franchise to give us new ways to think about our clients and find the right voice when writing for them.

Al explained that all the key Star Wars characters could be categorised as archetypes such as the Mentor (Yoda), the Herald (Princess Leia), the Sidekick (Han Solo) and the Icon (Obi-Wan Kenobi). Applying this categorisation to our clients was illuminating – we could immediately see that if a company aspires to be a mentor brand then its tone of voice must be knowledgeable, showing its customers where they need to go and helping them get there.

It was a simple yet suggestive way to approach brand personality, and the use of Star Wars made it memorable; I for one have already put it to good use. Al also sent us away with a great reading list, to help us think further about story, character and language. Give that man a lightsaber.

Stories at Work took place at the Free Word Centre in Farringdon and was the latest in our series of Trade Secrets workshops.

Jill Hopper is a freelance writer whose clients include EY and Unilever. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and is currently working on a book that blends biography and memoir.

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