Storytelling is one of those things that is obvious once you explain it, but many businesses still struggle to grasp its potential value. This post will explain some key reasons why using storytelling can benefit your business, its business communication, and its marketing. It also gives some examples, that bring the points alive.
Just remember: Stories have the ability to change the way people think and feel – which can be very powerful.
1. You Can Talk Without Sounding Like a Sales Pitch
We live in a culture where self-promotion is seen as something negative. We’re surrounded by people pitching their stuff, on social media and elsewhere. For many, it’s an instant turn-off. Storytelling is a way to get around that problem.
Business storytelling – especially in content marketing – allows you to talk about your business story without it sounding like a sales pitch.
You can talk about the benefits of your product or service and how others will benefit by telling a story they can relate to.
Or you can tell a personal story that relates to an important part of your company’s mission.
Also, people will listen to you not because you are “selling” them a product, but because you are entertaining them with a story. As a storyteller, your tone and approach can form the foundation of your entire marketing strategy.
2. The Audience Sticks With Your Message
We like stories because they make sense of things. Our minds cannot process masses of details and facts at once.
It’s not only about grabbing your audience’s attention, it’s about keeping it!
Stories, however, are much easier to process because they are condensed, memorable, and can convey a variety of emotions. Facts and statistics can be interesting, but people also forget them very quickly.
Stories capture people’s attention for longer periods of time and stay with them because they contain rich insights.
Rely on business storytelling in your marketing, and a potential customer will apply those insights to her own life and the benefits your product or service has for her. Once she is a customer, this will help build customer loyalty.
3. Your Experience Resonates
Effective storytelling is a great way to convey the practical application of your products or services.
For example, if you offer business training, you could tell the story of a company that overcame adversity and stayed strong by using the wisdom contained in one of your business training seminars.
There is a particular story formula that will help you do this:
Called the Origin Story, this is an extremely useful story structure that has proven effective in business settings. In it, you bring to life the situation before the “thing” was discovered that turned a (best, your) company around, and vividly describe a nearly insurmountable obstacle that had to be overcome.
Then, after the victory, you tell of the benefits and feelings that come from success.
This works because the audience struggles and cheers with you as you overcome the “wall” you faced before breaking through to success. You come across as believable, vulnerable, and successful – all in one story!
A customer will identify with this story and assume that what worked, in this case, will work for them. They will see you not only as a person they can relate to but also as a leader who tells the truth about how things really are!
4. You Can Get Your Audience to Imagine the ‘What If’
The “what if” is an extremely useful storytelling technique. It allows you to create a scenario from which the story develops.
Great persuasion requires that you envision the end goal. Stories give people the opportunity to do this through mental imagery.
Mental imagery has been shown to be a great way to influence people, as our emotions and creativity are strongly connected to the visual aspect. When we imagine something, we begin to feel it now.
You can persuade people by jumping from the present to the future by imagining these things through a story.
5. You Create a Better Understanding of Your Business
It can be difficult for people who are not part of your company to understand your culture, mission, and vision. Storytelling can help them connect and understand how your company works and what it stands for.
It’s the perfect way to get your brand story across.
Brand storytelling also helps people feel more connected to your business because they get a deeper understanding of what makes it special. They are also able to relate this understanding to their own lives, which helps them feel connected to the company.
6. You Bring people together around an experience
The positive impact of storytelling is recognized as one of the seven universal languages. It is the most universal and innate language that connects us all as humans. It connects people and creates a sense of community.
Organizations can use storytelling to foster group cohesion based on shared understanding. They can do this by telling stories that they have in common.
For example, telling stories about a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative can bring employees together by presenting them with a common goal.
The goal could be to give back to the community in a meaningful way. People feel more connected to the company when they share common goals and values that are embedded in a story.
7. Stories Help You to Persuade
It’s always easier to persuade people through a story. Our minds can not resist being appealed to by a story. A good story causes our brain to make associations with other situations we have already experienced.
As a result, we are much more likely to believe what we are told.
Business decisions are not made by logic alone. Emotions play a big role in how people make their decisions. Storytelling is one of the ways that you can get people to feel about your business. These emotions can be about trust, desire, or enabling their desires, for example.
This is why storytelling marketing is so effective.
A picture can be worth a thousand words. But when you string together images in a photo story, animation, or video, you can amplify that impact.
By using music as a mood enhancer (it needs to complement what’s happening on screen, not overpower it), you can create an even stronger emotional connection with your target audience.
Here are some examples of good business storytelling:
The company Coca-Cola has taken an in-depth look at the power of corporate storytelling. This has led the company to develop an advertising campaign called “The Happiness Factory” that relies entirely on the power of storytelling.
FC Barcelona has its own storytelling mechanism called “Més que un club” (“More than a club”).
Through this platform, Barcelona tells its great story in a way that makes fans feel connected to the club and feel like they are part of a family.
As you would expect, Apple is a master at using storytelling in their corporate communications. Their Apple Watch campaign is an example of a compelling story:
So How Can You Start Using Storytelling in Your Business?
To get started, there are many ideas you can try. You could:
– Write a blog post in which you include a story. This has the added benefit of getting your blog to the top of search engine rankings.
– Write a short story about the history of your business or about an instance where a customer solved a problem using the service you provide.
– Write a story about a fictional character who overcomes a difficult situation by using your product or service.
– Ask your employees to share one of their personal stories in which they overcame a challenge using a product or service you offer.
– Use your story as the basis for your elevator pitch. And remember, elevator pitches are not just for elevators!
– Post your story on social media and mention your company.
– Share your story on social media and encourage others to share their stories. That way, your brand representatives can spread the story on your behalf.
– Develop your storytelling skills by signing up for The Story Course on Udemy.