26 Apr, 2016

Rhymes and Reason. The Shared DNA of Storytelling


Authenticity is key to the art of storytelling, whether that’s the instinctive process of song writing and performing or the more scientific process of creating the effective content marketing strategies.

That was the advice given by the British Grime artist Ghetts at a seminar hosted by Matt Davies, UK managing director of MEC Wavemaker, at Advertising Week Europe in London. “The public can see through when it’s a lie — there’s a beauty in being yourself.”

The award-winning Ghetts said that he drew inspiration from his background growing up in Newham and all the different people that he had met over the years. This continues to drive his creative process. “Conversation is the best thing — I’m interested in people and different walks of life. I can write from a perspective that everyone can understand.”

However he admitted that, like many of us, has creativity can sometimes dry up — if he hasn’t been doing enough in life. This has a very simple remedy, according to Ghetts.” There’s a pattern — when I haven’t lived enough between projects, things sound the same. I talk to people, travel — I get inspired again.”

Ghetts and Davies also talked about distribution channels and how social platforms have allowed him to grow his fan base. “The internet has been a blessing and a curse as it means artists that aren’t very good are among those that are brilliant.

“However social platforms get you to connect with your core fan base. If someone converses with me via social networks you get to see what people they are — then you realise what your fans look like. It’s the same with branding I guess.”

The right channels were also key to putting out his messages. “It’s very important — if we put it on the wrong channels people aren’t going to connect with it.”

Davies asked about how he managed to grow his fan base — again something that brands try and do. Ghetts advised that it is better to grow a core fan base than try and adapt to please a wider audience that isn’t true to you — or you to it.  “Sometimes when you try and widen fan base you get rid of your core — it might be temporarily bigger but the core’s gone. I can’t really swap fans — my plan is to grow core fan base. It takes longer but in the end it works.”

Finally, Ghetts had some advice for those artists — and brands — that want to stay relevant. Drawing on his own experience he said: “I believe in myself. I feel like I haven’t achieved what I need to achieve so I crack on.

“No matter the level you get to things change and there’s another level you get to. Being a creative you want the world to know your creativity. I don’t think it ever stops.”

This is a lesson that brands could learn from too.