Business storytelling has been an effective marketing tactic for many brands for years. Why haven't more businesses adopted storytelling?
I think it's because most people don't understand how to use storytelling effectively.
Did you know that:
We're naturally drawn into compelling stories. Why wouldn't you want to invite potential customers into a story that engages them with your brand?
So what exactly is business storytelling? What are the benefits of telling a story? Let's find out...
What is Business Storytelling?
Business storytelling is an ART. It focuses on producing content and messaging that connects and resonates with potential customers and current customers.
Storytelling in business requires creativity, vision, skill, and practice to be effective.
Here's an infographic from Referral Candy that illustrates what business storytelling is and what it is not:
Storytelling is more than just sales and marketing. It's NOT about you and your company! It's about your customers.
If you really think about it, business storytelling isn't different from how stories are told in children's books, TV shows, and movies. The same concepts apply in business.
Storytelling has 3 critical elements - characters, conflict, and resolution.
- Character - This is the main person in a story that an audience can relate to. The main character is often referred to as the hero in the story.
- Conflict - These are the struggles or problems a character has to resolve. The character must learn a valuable lesson from the conflict of the story to keep the audience engaged until the end.
- Resolution - This is the end of a story. It shows how the character resolves the conflict to reach success. The character usually experiences some type of transformation as well. He/she has become a better person by working through the conflict.
Business storytelling can be expressed through any of your marketing channels.
Just like the traditional ways of storytelling, business storytelling has to be done correctly, or it will fall flat.
Have you ever watched a movie that failed to keep your attention? Of course you have! My guess is the movie lacked the critical elements needed to keep a story engaging.
Your story has to be:
- Entertaining - engaging and interesting.
- Educational - sparks curiosity and answers questions.
- Universal - relatable to everyone.
- Organized - organized and easy to absorb.
- Memorable - impact from the story should last for a long time.
If your story lacks these characteristics, then it's just another story not worth sharing.
Why Should You Use Storytelling in Your Business?
Business storytelling simplifies complex ideas, creates a sense of community, and inspires and motivates people.
A great example is UPS's "Wishes Delivered: Big Wishes, Tiny Trucks" short story...
Whoa! I'd say they succeeded in "delivering wishes" in that story.
I chose this video because it checks all the boxes of why brands need a compelling storytelling strategy:
- The video explained the importance of delivery services in the simplest way possible (simplified complex ideas).
- It also showed how friendship was built (sense of community).
- Finally, it brought a feel-good factor by making a little boy's wish come true. (inspirational and motivational).
It’s an excellent, real-life story that is emotionally charged and highlights UPS’s values and their dedication to making wishes come true as part of their Your Wishes Delivered campaign.
Storytelling can benefit any business.
Benefits of Business Storytelling
Now that you understand a little more about storytelling in business let's look at the benefits of using storytelling...
1. Business Growth
Inviting your customers into a story about how you can uniquely solve their problems and help them accomplish their goals is incredibly engaging.
What happens when people are engaged by your business? Your business grows, that's what happens!
Business growth doesn't happen overnight, but with effective storytelling, it becomes easier.
2. Gain a Competitive Advantage
Storytelling in business will provide you with a tool to clearly communicate how you can help potential customers and the benefits they will see as a result of working with you.
If you know how to effectively tell a story, then potential customers will see your business as the logical solution to their problems. I guarantee you most of your competitors are not doing this effectively, which will give you a competitive advantage.
3. Grab and Maintain Attention
Do you ever wonder why speakers begin their presentation with a story? It's because stories grab attention. It's how they hook you.
Storytelling makes people stop whatever they're doing and listen. There is so much going on in our lives today, it has become much harder to maintain attention.
Did you know that a goldfish has a longer attention span than a human?
The average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 to just EIGHT seconds today! CRAZY RIGHT?
What does this mean for you?
It means you've got to have your business storytelling on point!
4. Create Clarity
When you confuse people, you lose them!
Storytelling makes difficult concepts much easier to understand. It also helps you clearly communicate your message.
Storytelling will eliminate confusion and give potential customers the clarity and understanding they need to choose your business.
5. Connect Easier
If you want people to know there is a real person working behind your brand, then use storytelling to do so. Use it to tell a story about how you can solve their problems.
Nobody wants to interact with a robot. Robots can't empathize. You know who does? YOU!
Ultimately, business storytelling humanizes your brand, making it easier for people to connect. Storytelling shows your company cares. It shows your personality.
Storytelling provides an opportunity for your audience to remember you. Good stories are always memorable. Don't you have some favorite stories you like to tell from your childhood?
By inviting potential customers into a story, your business can become extremely memorable.
7. Drive Action
Stories give your target market a reason to take action because they're motivating!
A great way to achieve this is by combining storytelling with real-life success stories, events, struggles or charitable causes. Weren't you motivated by the UPS video above? Me too.
Use your stories to show customers how you can solve their problems and the benefits they will experience when working with you, and they'll have no choice but to take action.
There you go! Those are the reasons why business storytelling must be part of your marketing plan. To connect with your audience on a more personal level, learn how to connect with their emotions. Learn how to drive them to take action through stories.
Do you think storytelling can help your business?
Let's discuss in the comments section.
In our next article, we'll talk about how to effectively use storytelling marketing, so stay tuned...
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Creating a solid marketing strategy is a must for effective marketing? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Marketing Strategy to learn more.
Header image courtesy of Pexels.