Julie Roehm Interviews: Exploring the Content Landscape with Corporate Storytelling

As chief storyteller and Senior Vice President of Marketing for SAP, Julie Roehm is at the forefront of the content marketing and corporate storytelling world. As one of the world’s leading marketing gurus, Julie got where she is today because of her intuitive feel for the power of storytelling. Human beings have always responded to narrative storytelling, which has deep psychological roots, and Julie has successfully tapped into the power of the story to help to put a face on a difficult-to-humanize brand: SAP. Thinking outside of the box, Julie went beyond the B-to-B marketing status quo to tell a story and put a face on an industry-leading brand. Leveraging the power of technology for delivering relevant content with real value to customers, Julie has brought SAP into the 21st century with creative, effective corporate storytelling that creates a connection with consumers.

Julie Roehm interviews are a gold mine of innovative insights into the power of narrative to convey a company’s usefulness to customers and potential customers. A true master of storytelling, Julie has a unique, intuitive feel for the true power of a good story well told.

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Julie’s Guide to Storytelling Success

In a February 2015 interview, Julie Roehm discussed storytelling tools and techniques at length. Crafting a good story is an art, and Julie has an unparalleled feels for the nuances of convincing narrative for telling an individual brand’s unique story. In one of many Julie Roehm interviews, she lists key points that help make a story stand out to customers:

  • Memorability. According to Julie, a great story should be “like a classic book. People remember it and talk about it and get excited about it.” Good stories have strong conflict and interesting events and characters, drawing the audience in and creating a lasting impression.
  • Simplicity. Stories are easier to remember and pass on if they’re relatively simple in structure. Too many twists and turns in the plot could become confusing, and excessive complexity is usually superfluous when telling your company’s story.
  • Human truth. Every story is more than just a plot: it embodies a deeper human truth. For a company, this could be a theme like the power of persistence in the face of adversity.
  • A theme of sacrifice. A great corporate story should give off an impression that the company is sacrificing something toward their customer and their storyline, creating a sense of connection and empathy from the consumer. Stories aren’t always uplifting: there is always adversity before there is triumph.
  • Concise and limited. You don’t have to include everything in your company’s narrative. Your story needs to make it clear how you provide benefit to your customers.
  • Don’t waste profit advertising complex products. When customers get confused, they tune out. Between work, school, family, and other important concerns, no one has time to try to wrap their head around a product that’s beyond their understanding.
  • Inspire people to be a part of your movement. Julie cites Steve Jobs as a great example of compelling corporate storytelling. Apple’s brand story inspired people to want to become a part of Apple’s movement and culture.
  • A sense of meaning. A company’s story gives that company meaning. For example, Apple’s “meaning” is embodied in their slogan, “Think Different.” Apple is about pursuing technological innovation by going beyond the status quo, transcending what was thought possible or plausible. This triumph of creative ingenuity is something their audience can relate to.
  • Convey the essence of the brand. Every brand has a unique “aesthetic” or “personality,” and your story should encompass and embody that brand image.
  • Awareness of the past. Company stories should harness the events of their past to move into the future, learning from past successes and mistakes to thrive as they move onward.
  • Inclusion of the customer.Company’s are nothing without their customers, and the customer is a valuable player in the story’s narrative. Companies should create something useful for consumers, including their customers in the “big picture” conveyed by their story.

For Julie Roehm, storytelling is the heart and soul of content marketing. New technologies have created exciting new avenues for advertising, marketing, and creating a dialogue with customers, from traditional blogs to social media sites like Twitter. But at the bottom of all of it is the story. A company’s story is timelessly compelling, engaging customers with a sincere, powerful narrative of triumph, adversity, and other truths intrinsic to the human condition.