Last week one of our longest standing clients, Dogs for the Disabled, became Dogs for Good. From the earliest stages of the brand redevelopment, storytelling has been at the heart of the thinking: “We have a potentially complicated message because we have three distinct services,” says Communications Manager, Sarah Watson. “We knew that personalising the brand and telling the stories of the people we help would be what enabled us to really show what Dogs for Good is all about”.
But to achieve this the marketing team needed to get the puppy trainers, kennel team and community teams excited about storytelling: “Our teams working with the dogs and in the community have access to stories that as a marketing team we couldn’t even hope to see on a daily basis. We knew that if we wanted the brand to come alive with stories we would have to engage and involve all of our staff.”
This is where Mile 91 came in. We ran a full day training course covering the art and science of storytelling, why stories are crucial to a charity’s brand, how to spot a good story, and verbal storytelling skills. Despite regular breaks for a dog walks (how often does that happen during a training course?!), by the end of the day our eyes had been prickling as a result of the inspiring stories we’d heard and, more importantly, staff had shared their ideas for a system of story gathering that would work for them.
At Mile 91 we preach loud that any marketing, communications or fundraising team that wants to capture stories to inspire their audience needs to find a system that works for the people who are living and breathing the charity’s impact on a daily basis. Many make the mistake of finding a system that works for them and then expecting busy frontline teams to fit in with it.
Following the training day, Dogs for Good established the Pop up Story Café. Once a quarter the marketing team come armed with flip chart paper and Danish pastries and sit and chat to staff who pop in between their regular dog training schedules and community visits to share their highlights and anecdotes.
“The café has helped us have much better conversations with our colleagues,” says Sarah, “we use this time to expand on the ‘how?’ and ‘why?’ and that helps us to really understand our impact and paint a better picture for our audiences.”
If you want to build relationships with your frontline teams and develop their skills in storytelling then why not get in touch and find out how we can help. You can see all the storytelling training courses we run on our training pages of our website.
As well as working with Dogs for Good during the planning stages of their rebrand, more recently we’ve been capturing some pictures of their gorgeous dogs for their updated photo library. Here are a few below.