Brainstorm ideas for your story

Business benefits

Create many story ideas and a story arc to create a good starting place for your story designing process.

Meet with team members for a story brainstorming session.

To improve your brainstorming session, identify your goals, decide who should attend, choose a comfortable environment, and remember that silence is okay.

Discuss your brand’s reasons and goals for using storytelling.

Get on the same page by discussing how storytelling will help your brand. Consider sharing some of your favorite brand storytelling examples to spark ideas.

Define who your story’s audience or audiences are based on who in your brand audience you want to speak to.

Start discussing what you already know about your audience, including their demographics, motivations, interests, goals, and more.

List your audience’s current needs, wants, and emotions.

Consider how current events are affecting your audience. Have any of their habits recently changed? Are they leaving comments on your social media posts asking for something specific, like a non-plastic version of your packaging? List specific examples.

Discuss what stories already are and aren’t resonating with your audience.

Use tools like SparkToro or BuzzSumo to learn more about your audience and the content they consume.

List ideas for characters, what the story is about, and how it ends.

For example, Hinge created the Dating Apocalypse story using these story elements:

  • Characters: People who can’t find love on other dating apps. Note that these characters mirror Hinge’s target audience.
  • Plot: A man is stuck in a carnival setting where people are turning into zombies because of dating-app fatigue.
  • Conclusion: He finds an Exit door and enters a better world without swiping on dating apps and finds his match.

Map out the story arc, including the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.

Include these parts in your story arc:

  • Exposition: Provide background to your audience, unveiling the what, who, where, and when of your story.
  • Rising action: Introduce conflict into your story via an event or trigger that sets the story into motion.
  • Climax: Bring the tension in your story to a peak, prompting an important decision, realization, or crossroads for your main characters.
  • Falling action: Show the result of the decision or realization, and begin winding down the tension towards resolution.
  • Resolution: End the story showing how the situation and characters have changed, as a result of the events that transpired in the story.

Use a story arc template to help you create your story arc draft.

Select a basic story structure that fits your story arc and the emotion that you want the story to evoke.

For example, Hinge’s story uses the hero’s journey story structure, which is a character-focused story that ends with a changed world after the main character found the elixir. Look through story structure ideas for inspiration.

Brainstorm ideas for your story attributes, including personality, tone, voice, and visual elements.

Consider:

  • What mood do we want the story to convey?
  • Will it be upbeat or serious?
  • Do we have the resources to create a video, or will this story mainly use text?

Leave out references to a larger course where possible; playbooks should be able to stand alone.

If possible, it would be really handy to provide guidance on the story arc template. Either a CXL brand story arc template to use, or a bit more information on how to set out the 5 sections of the story. For example, should they all be about the same length? Should the climax be longer?

Edits made. Added some guidance for the elements of the story arc. Building a CXL template at some point would be worthwhile.

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