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Storytelling for leaders in the modern world

Blog post   •   Jul 04, 2013 17:02 BST

Alexander Steen, part of the Senior Sales team at Mynewsdesk in Sweden, gives his take on modern leaders and PR...

Jonathan Bean, Chief Operating Officer at Mynewsdesk, once told me that it would take about three months for me to get to grips with what exactly modern PR is. 

So I will try to tell you what I have learned so far about the somewhat strange world of digital PR.

Leaders of the past

For me, leaders are interesting characters. They are the ones who break new ground and end up with an army of supporters. 

Throughout history there have always been leaders, such as Abraham Lincoln, Elizabeth I, Jesus, Margaret Thatcher and Buddha, who, for better or for worse, attracted a dedicated following.

So what keeps these people believing in their leader, sometimes even after their death? How do these leaders maintain or expand their following? 

The power of storytelling 

What all of these leaders had in common was their talent for storytelling. They had strong core ideas which their target audience could relate to and incorporated these into all of their speeches, writings and messages.  

In other words, they created stories around their central ideas and used all methods of communication available to them at the time to relate it to the public.  

These stories resonated with their audience so powerfully that people began to follow the storyteller, spread the story themselves and attract more followers as a result.   

Today these stories must be communicated online and through social media as well as via traditional media channels, as the way in which we read, watch and listen to content has become incredibly fragmented.  

It is more difficult for today's leaders to effectively tell their stories and reach their target audience.  

Leaders of 2013

When I ask people today who their leader is, their response doesn't always refer to a human being. 

Today, brands have developed a mass following of loyal customers who actively identify themselves with their products. Could the leaders of 2013 in fact be companies like Google, Apple, or Nike? 

Just as the leaders of the past had their famous speeches and scriptures such as Lincoln's Ghettysburg address, Marx and Engels' Manifesto, and Jesus's teachings, today’s leaders need to learn how to effectively tell their stories. 

As part of the Mynewsdesk team, I'm helping the new leaders of 2013 - companies and brands - to tell their stories by providing them with the best digital tools. I'm helping them to feed their target audience just what they need to maintain their interest, as well as attract new followers through their online newsroom.

So, Jonathan Bean, I wouldn’t say I am a PR expert yet, but I will get there one follower at a time.