The Marketing Benefits of Storytelling
Do you feel bombarded by information and details, to the point where it becomes too difficult to understand and make sense of those details?
Unfortunately, modern ways of marketing have lost sight of how human we are. What does that mean?
Think about it: who we are comes from our DNA. The detail of what our eye colour is, our hair colour, or how tall we are going to be, is inscribed deeply in our DNA and this is the story of Who We Are. Storytelling is the very fabric of our Lives.
Stories are how we communicate with others. It’s how we connect with people. From a young age, is it the way we learn and understand the world around us.
Think about the last time you saw a really good movie. Were you emotionally invested? Did you laugh? Did you cry? Were you tense in those exciting moments? When the story is compelling, it makes you think; it makes you feel invested. There is an emotional connection that imprints those memories and feelings in our brains. We remember not just the events but the feeling.
In our digital world, we use different resources to create a story for us every day, in fact, very likely, several times a day – we may use websites, read articles, watch short videos, view photos on social media, and read product/people/business reviews – it’s only after processing the story pieces that we may buy something, or invest in something, or someone. If this is how we function in our personal lives, why would we conduct our businesses differently?
Every business needs to ask how they can package the details, and information, that they want people to use to hire them, or buy their product, in a way that the consumer can receive it, and relate to it, in a way that creates a connection. Undeniably, the best answer for all business types, is to tell a story.
A story helps organize your information which allows you to communicate what you want to tell people in a clear and concise way. It gets people’s attention.
In business, ideas come from a problem that needs to be solved. When we think of solving a problem, it often starts with a story which details a problem, and a solution which is created from our product or service. Dry facts are not going to “sell” a solution. People need to feel invested in a problem, to be able to invest in a solution.
We are bombarded by options from multiple sources on a daily basis. How do you decide what to do, who to listen to? Why would I care about your business or what you offer compared to the guy down the street? How do I know, which solution is the best one to invest in?
Conversely, your challenge as a business is to get me to invest in what you offer. How do you make me want to buy your product? A really good way to do that is by storytelling. A good story will tell me that you care about me, and in return, why I should care about your product. How will your product change my life? Don’t tell me, show me…
A good business story integrates marketing and sales aspects of a business. A good back story is a great marketing tool. The best ads are ones that tell a story which people can identify with on some level. And that story needs to run across all of your media channels – not just your website. I need to connect with you, and your business, to buy into it, and that same message needs to be reinforced by appearing whenever, and wherever, I see your business.
As an example – I like shopping at one particular clothing store. It’s a small business run by two sisters. Yes, I like their clothes. But that is not why I shop there. I shop there because I like them. I walk in, and they know my name. I know their story. I know how they started. I know where they are from. I see them on social media always talking from the heart, always personal. In a nutshell, we have a relationship. That is the basis of much of their customer base. It’s powerful and it works. I would rather spend my money on people – I would rather invest in this small business succeeding, than in a corporate chain who I perceive as not caring, or knowing, who I am.
Perhaps you recall the adage: people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Storytelling is a way to create a connection by packaging information into a format that people can relate to, understand, and feel something about; they remember it, and thus build a personal connection with it. Show your clients that you care, and they will respond.
In this connected, yet divided, world we are living in, stories and storytelling are the way to create that vital human connection. When we humanize our message we build bridges, show that we care, and are willing to invest in that relationship. Storytelling is what makes us human. Storytelling is like the string that connects people to each other. And as humans we crave connection.
And the human connection is the most important connection of all!
Contact: Campbell Ohrlis, MBA