Kindra Hall, the president and chief storytelling officer at Steller Collective, delivered a keynote speech on the strategic use of storytelling in business at the 2023 Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo (OHCE2023).
The session, titled “Stories That Stick: The Irresistible Power of Strategic Storytelling,” saw Hall, a renowned storyteller and best-selling author, delve into her journey with storytelling, sharing a pivotal memory from her senior year of high school.
“I’ll never forget the day I first discovered the power of strategic storytelling, which is what we’re talking about here today,” she addressed. “The first time I discovered the power of strategic storytelling, I was 17 years old, was a senior in high school, and I was in physics class.”
She recounted a moment in her physics class, using this narrative to demonstrate how stories can vividly capture attention and make lasting impressions, even on topics as abstract as physics.
Hall’s address highlighted the significance of leveraging personal and corporate stories to forge a genuine connection with audiences. She advocated for the utilization of narrative as a critical business asset, capable of enhancing customer engagement and propelling business growth.
Her message was especially pertinent to outdoor hospitality professionals, who operate in an industry ripe with stories of adventure, discovery, and human connection – all revolving around the importance of storytelling as a strategic tool in business communication.
Hall emphasizes the power of stories to connect with others on a level that data and facts alone cannot. She suggests that storytelling can make subjects like physics (which can be perceived as complex or dull) more engaging and relatable, implying that the same principle applies to business.
“When we start talking about brand and brand storytelling and thinking about our story… you didn’t tell some big, grand story,” she explained. “It’s not the magnitude of a story that matters. It’s the decision to tell even the small stories that connect people.”
Her speech promotes the concept that businesses, particularly in the outdoor hospitality industry, should strategically use storytelling to enhance their branding and marketing efforts. This strategy can create a memorable brand experience and differentiate a business in a crowded marketplace.
“How many of you remember the commercial with the puppy who became friends with the horses,” she asked. “It was from the brand Budweiser. They didn’t even mention beer. They didn’t even talk about the thing they were selling.”
“All they did was tell a story… For them, beer meant friendship. And so they told a story about friends,” she explained, emphasizing the importance of storytelling in branding.
The act of using stories not only serves to engage an audience but also aids in memory retention. Hall’s experience as a student reflects the enduring power of stories to make information stick, a valuable outcome for any communication effort.
Drawing parallels between her academic experiences and business communication, Hall emphasized that just as a well-told story helped her appreciate a subject as daunting as physics, so too can strategic storytelling help businesses in the outdoor sector illustrate their value to customers.
Emphasizing the power of narratives, Hall explained how storytelling transcends mere entertainment, shaping how businesses connect with their audiences and differentiate themselves in a competitive market.
The session concluded with a big round of applause, as Hall’s insights resonated with attendees eager to harness the power of storytelling within their respective roles. Her message was clear: in a world saturated with data and facts, it is the stories that shape perceptions, drive decisions, and create memorable brands.
The audience, comprising industry leaders and enthusiasts, was encouraged by Hall to mine their experiences for stories that resonate with their clientele, thereby fostering a richer, more relatable brand image.
With rapt attention and intermittent laughter, attendees were not only entertained but also educated on the transformative power of storytelling—a power that Hall conveyed is essential for success in today’s marketplace.
Hall’s presentation, rich with personal anecdotes and practical insights, set the stage for a conference aimed at redefining outdoor hospitality through innovative communication strategies.
The Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo continues through the week, with Hall’s keynote setting a high bar for the transformative discussions to follow. Stay tuned at Modern Campground for more updates as we go!