• Sara Zellner

The Power of Impact Storytelling

Getting your target audience to pay attention to your ESG, corporate responsibility, or impact news and activities is not easy these days. The onslaught of email, social media, and other disruptions that we receive in a day constantly divert our attention, making it difficult for your messaging to take hold and stick.


Once people get beyond your catchy headline, what really grabs their attention? A good story.

impact storytelling

Research shows that we’re attracted to and learn more from materials that evoke emotions. Stories with emotional content lead to better comprehension of key takeaways and facilitate improved recall of these takeaways weeks later. And if your goal is also behavior change, people are more likely to modify their behavior when they see or read about a character with whom they identify who is making the same change.


Memorable impact stories include a character—a person or entity—that moves through the following phases:

  1. The challenging problem - The character is confronted with an issues or situation that has a negative effect and needs to be resolved.

  2. The solution - The character encounters person, organization, or knowledge source to assist in solving the problem.

  3. The successful conclusion - The character’s outcome is improved as a result of the solution.

Depending on who your audience is and the takeaways you wish to convey, your organization could be positioned as the character in the story or the solution that provides the resources to fix the problem. The end of your story should also thoughtfully reiterate your key takeaways to drive home the messaging and bring your story full circle.


The beauty of impact storytelling is that people are more inspired to hear about how companies improve lives than by how they sell their products and services. This inclination makes your ESG, corporate responsibility, or impact communications more likely to be read in the first place.

And the types of communications in which impact storytelling can be used are limitless. Tell stories in your blogs, ESG or corporate responsibility reports, white papers, or wherever you want your messaging to be remembered.


If you need any assistance in telling your impact stories, contact me to learn more.


#impactstorytelling #csrstorytelling #esgstorytelling

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