Zimmer Inc. uses the P-S-R format
Roz Chast’s “Story Template” offers a good structure for corporate storytellers to follow:
- Problem (“Suddenly”)
- Introduction (“Once upon a time”)
- Solution (“Luckily”)
- Results (“Happily ever after”)
Here’s how it works, courtesy of a patient case study from a Silver Anvil Award-winning campaign by Zimmer Inc. and Public Communications Inc.
When Zimmer introduced the first replacement knee for women, the company promoted it with, among other things, a series of patient stories like “After 10 Years of Pain, She’s ‘Living Life Like a 50-Year-Old.’”
Start with the problem.
Note how much of the real estate in this release is dedicated to the problem. That’s because the worse the problem is, the more dramatic the solution appears.
So pile on the tangible details — “knees of a 70-year-old,” “It was agony to … cook elaborate Sunday family meals,” “My daughter began doing my clothes shopping” — to show, instead of tell, how bad it was.
Sandwich the introduction.
The “introduction” is essentially the background section. It includes the five W’s of the story, like: What age was the patient? Where did she live? What did she do for a living?
That’s not — I hope! — the most scintillating part of your story. And that’s why you want to lead with the problem.
You can either move the introduction below the lead into a background section to create a classic feature-style story. Or you can break it into parenthetical phrases interspersed throughout the piece, like, “said Louise, 50, who lives in Eastern Pennsylvania.”
Describe the solution.
The solution is probably going to be your organization’s product, service, program or plan. Remember: The real story here is how your stuff solved the problem. So focus on that, not on every detail of the product itself. Instead, keep this section short and to the point.
Close with the results.
Here’s where you pile on tangible details about how your product or service changed someone’s life (or a company’s bottom line, or … you get it). Quantify and specify. Name names and number numbers.
And get the results in the customer’s or client’s own words. That makes for a better testimonial.
Try the story template.
How can you use this story template to make your next case study, testimonial or narrative more dramatic and powerful?
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