Storytelling has always been an enormous part of business success. There’s a good reason why – the human brain is hard-wired to hearing stories, and it’s how many of us make sense of the world. So, while many will tell you it’s the ‘next big thing’ in marketing and advertising, don’t believe the hype. It’s as important as it has ever been – and will continue to be. But the big question is – are you telling – and selling – your business story? Here’s a quick rundown of everything you need to know.
What is business storytelling?
It’s quite simple: storytelling is about delivering a message. It’s not just about being smart or creative – it’s also about being effective and providing information. Think about some of the most memorable ads you have seen on the TV or heard on the radio. Most of them will be telling you a story, and creating an emotional impact. They help to create strong brands. When we listen to stories, we are far more inclined to sit up and take notice. Compare this to a direct sales pitch – most of us will just switch off if we feel someone is selling to us.
What is your mission statement?
The foundation of your story telling comes from your mission statement. It’s the first thing that potential customers will see, and it needs to be clear, succinct, and inspirational. It has to chime with people, while at the same time, deliver the information on what it is you do. Let’s say you are a used car dealership. Instead of your mission statement being ‘We Sell Used Cars’, you might go for something like ‘Your Dream Ride For Less’. Make it interesting, and target people’s aspirations. It’s a far more efficient way of delivering a message than using bland, samey language.
When should you use storytelling?
Not everything you write about your business should be a story. Facts are always needed, of course, and there is a chance you will dilute or distract your customers from what you do. But, storytelling should be used whenever you are trying to capture interest. Let’s say you are presenting a new product to a big retail buyer. You could go in there with some dull slides and a projector and talk about the manufacturing process. No one wants to hear that, however. You need to be bold, exciting and inspire those buyers to listen. Talk about the problems your product solves. Jazz up your Powerpoint presentation designs to visually hammer home your points. Describe an ideal customer, touch on their pain points, and be succinct with the improvements your product has on their life.
Is your story easy to follow?
As we mentioned above, you have to be careful that you don’t overegg the pudding. Telling a story is one thing – telling compelling stories is another entirely. Keep things simple for your audience, and be aware that it is very easy to confuse them. It’s good to connect with your audience’s emotions, but relevancy is key. Think about the likes of Coca-Cola – their aim is to ‘refresh the world.’ It’s simple, engaging, and puts ideas into people’s heads.
OK, so that’s all for now in this business storytelling 101. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!