Bringing stories to life. The power of audiobooks

Matt Seel

Matt Seel on Jan 3, 2018

We know that telling real people’s stories is one of the best ways to change behaviour. Stories have been part of human culture forever and we’re hardwired to listen and learn from them.

The problem is that we can’t get groups of people together to listen to someone tell their story. It’s too long. We’ve got too much to do. There are too many distractions. So, how do we get one person’s story in front of as many people as possible to the best effect?

The answer is in audiobooks.

Relationship Realities – phase 1

We started working with OnePlusOne on their campaign to help families suffering from addiction. They wanted to get the stories of people whose family members had suffered from alcohol or drug addiction to others in the same situation.

How could we do this? An event would be too expensive, and for a story to have the most impact it needs to be one-to-one. Also, when you’re talking about substance abuse some people need to stay anonymous for their own safety.

To solve this problem we interviewed five couples and uploaded their stories to an MP3 player. We then packaged up the MP3 player and sent it to the people who needed it through frontline workers.

Relationship Realities – phase 2

The results from phase 1 of the project were great. The stories helped people come to terms with their issues and start to make a real, positive change to their lives. The only problem was the MP3 players weren’t particularly attractive or scalable.

We shopped around and found an audiobook manufacturer. They created a slick, attractive audiobook that we could produce at scale. We also added a pre-stamped evaluation slip into the audiobook, to gather more feedback.

When this batch of audiobooks went out to more families we got even better results:

  • 97% of recipients agreed that they could relate to some of the experiences
  • 88% agreed that the recordings contained useful insights
  • 86% agreed that they would recommend Relationship Realities
  • 100% of frontline practitioners agreed that hearing others’ stories would be helpful to other families they support

Alliance Homes

Alliance Homes had a different issue to OnePlusOne. There was a gulf between the work that their staff knew they did and the great work they were doing on the ground. Again, real people, real stories was the key. We interviewed ten people based on Alliance Homes’ five themes, Renting, Financial Support, Care, Repair and General Support to help them with their internal engagement at an event. We turned around the audiobooks in record time. New interviews, new design, same great product.