Storytelling Principles: Premise (#1)

Back to news overview

Storytelling has been around for a long time. It’s been overly hyped, booed off stage and recently it seems to have picked up traction again. Some - like my honourable fellow strategist Frank van de Koppel - say this may even be called the Netflix effect as in Netflix has propelled storytelling into everyday life like no other. At HPB we’ve always respected storytelling as a way to emotionally engage and connect with audiences, culture, people.

The foundation of the Art of Storytelling - as we’d like to call it - are its Principles.

Personally I am a great admirer of the way Robert McKee - a creative writing instructor and former professor at the University of Southern California - has written about storytelling in his book Story.

Here’s my take on his principles and their relevance in the context of today’s Earned First Era.

Over time, I will try and touch on all Story principles McKee’s calls out, starting with…

Premise (Storytelling Principle #1)

“The idea that inspires the writer to create the story”

or my translation into marketing storytelling

“The idea that inspires the founder/inventor to (re)create the brand, new product, service, company”.

Some call it the “What if” question. Let me bring it to life by giving you some examples.

What if…?

...we could make flying cars?

Check People for the first successfully tested flying car by SkyDrive Inc., (a Japanese company) that develops urban air mobility solutions, at a Toyota Test Field in Japan.

...we could do something that we’ve never done and protect people from Covid-19?

Check Wavin for a case on using their plastic and product lines meant for the production of pipes and turning it into a production line to make Face Shields, protecting dentists, hairdressers, physiotherapists, installation and maintenance departments, etc.

...we could break through a taboo such as talk about real women stories concerning their womb?

Check #wombstories powered by Libresse.

...we could create a great tasting spirits & liquor portfolio without the alcohol?

Check Lyre’s for their great story on this topic.

What is your premise? Your “What if...?” And how can it help you sharpen your brand, company, and help it give more meaning? Or how can it trigger you to create a new story, a new angle or even a new product or service that truly adds value?

We wish you the attention that you earn.


Date 15 September 2020

”We work together with a dedicated team at Het PR Bureau. A great mix of creativity and PR expertise. In close collaboration with their network in media, influencers and behind the stage, they make plans happen.”

Esther ter Braak - Brand Manager

“For a startup brand like ours, it was extremely important to see frequent media coverage. Het PR Bureau has laid the foundation for our growth from Amsterdam to 6 other cities in the Netherlands. Despite our relatively modest budgets, we were able to achieve enormous coverage together. I look back on a number of activations with great pleasure.”

Vincent Hosman - Country Manager Nederland

"Netflix was ​​looking for the best suitable communication partner in every country. This could also be a 'local hero', as long as they are big enough. For the introduction of Netflix in the Netherlands and Belgium, we have partnered up with Het PR Bureau. The desired Service Level Agreement was new to Het PR Bureau, but they adapted very quickly and it soon surfaced. Within the international framework, they surprised us with their proactivity and creative ideas."

Joris Evers - Vice President Netflix, Head of Communications Europe, Middle East & Africa

”The uniqueness of Het PR Bureau is that the people are able to both think on a strategic level and at the same time roll up their sleeves to set up an event or activation. A high-quality one-stop-shop in the field of PR, that is what we were looking for and what we ultimately found in Het PR Bureau.”

Wieteke van Hunnik - PR & Communications manager

“In de zoektocht naar een bureau dat ons merk in de Benelux kon introduceren, kwamen we na een intensieve oriëntatie bij Het PR Bureau uit. Hun netwerk, ondernemerszin en drive gaven de doorslag. We waren onder de indruk van hun professionaliteit. De strategie van het bureau is dat ze VAPs (Very Adorable People) op cruciale posities aan het werk zetten. Intussen hebben we, sinds de start in 2011, ruim zeven jaar samengewerkt. Ik kan gerust stellen dat Het PR Bureau een belangrijke rol heeft gespeeld in het groot maken van Spotify in de Benelux. "

Alison Bonny - Communicatie Directeur EMEA, Spotify
Zilveren Kruis

“Het PR Bureau is a smart, professional group of people with nice perspectives where I felt at home immediately. Especially in a very difficult market such as the insurance industry, in which many interests play a role and which has many limitations, they did very well. I regard Het PR Bureau as a premium agency. With such a partner you can be assured that your campaign will be executed impeccably.”

Walter de Reus - Brand Manager