Influencing a change: Navigating change management through influencer-led storytelling.

April 13, 2024 - By wom


Change can be gruelingly difficult. Organizations often shift gears, and the communications team must ensure the messaging reaches the intended audience. However, the real question is how often the purpose of change percolates down the system. The need for change must be internalized downstream for a successful change adoption. One can only get the people onboard if they succeed in understanding the purpose of the change.

The regular practice is to opt for clichéd tools such as Mailers, Newsletters, Town Halls, Face-to-face meetings, Videos, Blogs, etc., to convey the message across teams. Often, one may overlook an important aspect: the power of suggestion.

Dive into the transformative power of influencer-led storytelling in navigating change management.


Let us get back to the basics. The golden marketing mix comprised the 7 Ps of marketing, of which ‘People’ remains the most promising and vital component of all times. Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, has explained the importance of “getting the right people on the bus” and then “getting them in the right seats.” In short, people who can be agents of change in popular culture are known as ‘influencers’!

Influencer marketing has taken the world by storm with paid promotions and celebrity endorsements, but one often overlooks the change champions within the perimeters of the organization. These influencers are potent communicators, influential team players, and trusted thought leaders within their sphere of expertise. Collaborating with a change champion in the organization can open doors to opportunities where people view them as trusted and genuine leaders to influence a positive change.

For example, an MNC adopting an optimization program can improve efficiency and reduce costs by eliminating manual processes. Conversely, this can result in double-hatted roles and increased work pressure, which may negatively impact employee morale. In this instance, identifying an influencer who is a direct benefactor can do wonders in reversing the adverse situation.

With the right influencer/change champion in place, the next step is to create a compelling campaign that helps foster authentic connections with the team. This campaign can include an interview series that narrates the hardships faced by the team and the coping mechanisms adopted to overcome the challenges and reap the desired benefits from the team.

Deploying the power of storytelling from an influencer’s perspective can help the reader live vicariously through their words and develop a sense of empathy towards the storyteller. The narrative must explain how the team navigated challenges with a unique showcase for ‘lessons learned’ and best practices that helped them achieve their goal. The stories must reveal a profound personal achievement that can help forge an emotional and authentic connection with the reader. Good storytelling is about generating empathy, resonating with the target audience, and making them feel heard, seen, and wanted. A successful influencer will inspire teams to embrace change by putting their heart right on their sleeves. Keep these simple techniques in mind while choosing an influencer for your campaign.

Ready to unlock the transformative potential of influencer-led storytelling? 
  1. Identify leaders with a solid knowledge base: Leaders are often perceived as ‘Influencers’ based on their domain and industry insight, organizational tenure, approachability and willingness to mentor aspiring colleagues.
  2. Reveal a conflict: Change is never a bed of roses. It comes with a fair share of challenges, and it is essential to reveal a conflicting situation to forge authentic connections with the reader.
  3. Bring in the numbers: Data helps communicate an insightful story and will bring legitimacy to the claims.
  4. Leverage internal mediums: Understand the workings of communications platforms such as the Intranet portal, soft boards, group/regional newsletters, and LED displays to ensure consistency of messaging across all mediums. Multiple touchpoints will help reiterate a message.
  5. Encourage dialogue: There is magic in the buzz. Encourage your influencers to interact with their followers to create a genuine and human connection as they share their experiences.

When fostered strategically, the symbiotic nature of this partnership can help unlock value for both the influencer and communications teams, which would’ve been out of reach if attempted individually. Change communications is an ongoing process. It does not end with a singular campaign but a multitude of efforts to break the tried and tested methods and create new patterns of thinking.

Adopt novelty in your approach and deploy powerful storytelling tactics to create a compelling narrative that can lead to a positive and lasting change.