Storytelling to change perceptions
Time and again when we start working closely with an organisation, we discover that the popular perception of what that organisation is, is different from what’s underneath. To slightly misquote that lovable ogre, Shrek, the Blacktown Workers Club is like an onion – it has layers. To the outsider, it’s a pokies and entertainment venue. Peel back a layer or two, and it is so. much. more.
In capturing and recording sixty years of history, it quickly became very clear that the needs of the club’s 52,000 members are front and centre of everything the club does. For many members, the Blacktown Workers Club is their family, their friendship group and their community, all rolled into one. For many, the club is the only thing standing between them and social isolation. And with its vast array of sporting groups, leisure clubs, entertainment and restaurants, there is something for everyone, from the very young to the very old. It’s this story that the club wanted to tell when it celebrated its sixtieth birthday last year. Diamond Jubilee was a great way to celebrate the lesser-known and community-driven aspects of the Blacktown Workers Club and to broaden people’s perception of the organisation as a whole.
So, if you’re already putting your money where your mouth is, but people haven’t noticed, how do you let them know?
Perceptions can be hard to shift and it’s often not just about a simple branding exercise. And some organisations are reluctant to tell people about the great things they’re doing and achieving because they don’t want to seem like they’re blowing their own trumpet or showing off. Storytelling, however, is really the perfect vehicle for that sort of sharing. Books have an authenticity and a credibility that other forms of communication can lack, and when punctuated by interviews and quotes from members, staff and the community, all of a sudden, you have a very credible platform from which to share the great stuff you’re doing. On top of that, revenue from sales goes a long to covering the costs of the project.
And from that platform, storytelling can continue, regularly adding richness to member experience and binding them tighter to the community. It doesn’t just have to be at a milestone, although that’s often a good place to start.