Design and advertising non-profit D&AD, with the support of Creative Skillset, will launch a free online course next week for professionals who manage brands across the creative industries and beyond. It aims to examine a fundamental challenge of all marketing and communications: how do you engage your audiences through story?

The ‘Brand Storytelling: How to Use Narrative to Sell’ course, hosted by FutureLearn, will explore the power of storytelling in creating brand success.

Over four weeks, FutureLearn said the course would helps professionals develop skills around creating a narrative, communicating a brand by telling stories, engaging an audience and amplifying a message through digital media.

Sir Alan Parker, renowned director, writer and producer commented, “stories are about people connecting, and your job is to connect to the audience”. Or, in order to sell, you first need to connect, and D&AD claims this free course can show you how.

The course features input from key creatives behind some of the biggest brand campaigns, such as Peter Souter, chief creative officer at TBWA London, Jon Kallus, creative director at Grey London and Al MacCuish, chief creative officer at Sunshine. They share practical advice about how to create compelling stories that sell products, brands and values.

During the course, theory and practical tasks will be supported using examples from D&AD’s extensive archive of creative work. Student will also have the opportunity to work on a live brief throughout the course, with a cash prize and industry mentoring available for the winning project.

Paul Drake, foundation director at D&AD said, “A core objective of the D&AD Foundation is to remove obstacles that prevent people flourishing in design and advertising. We know that access to learning is key to achieving this aim. It is therefore really exciting that with the support of Creative SkillSet and a host of industry legends we have been able to produce D&AD’s first free online training course, accessible to all regardless of location or background. We hope that this exploration into storytelling enables us to close the skills gap and helps more people discover and exploit the power of story."

Stephen Woodford, chairman of Lexis and a board member of Creative Skillset said, “On this course you will learn from some of the best storytellers in branding and communications anywhere. Great storytelling is at the heart of effective communications and what's more, the course is free, so what more can I say other than sign up and learn from the best!"

This course is one of a suite of eight which has been developed for FutureLearn, following a £200,000 investment from Creative Skillset

To check out the other courses, visit the Creative Skillset page on FutureLearn.