People have been telling stories for thousands of years and people will continue to tell them for thousands more.
A good story will captivate any audience and will make a first impression that is memorable.
When information is told in the form of a story, studies have shown people instantly connect because they can relate, and with this emotions are sparked. Whether it’s happiness, empathy, trust or anger, these when spoken through language and listened too, parts of the brain are activated and awakened.
Describe your favourite food, the look, smell, taste, how it makes you feel. This ignites the sensory cortex of our brain and we are engaged and hungry for more.
Unfortunately, storytelling has become a lost art in many businesses. This can be possibly detrimental to start-ups, because failed attempts to effectively pitch to potential clients, investors and customers can result in the end of business. Taking time to craft stories that are captivating are important to show off who you are and your brand and will help to build the foundation of a good working relationship.
PowerPoint presentations filled with facts, jargon, buzzwords, and graphs are good to some extent, but it can make it difficult to set the scene.
This can be seen by many entrepreneurs, they are so enthusiastic about what they're building that they assume their audience is just as interested. They'll start rattling off the facts and forget about the importance of grabbing their audience’s attention. No matter how compelling your facts are, if your audience isn't interested in what you're saying, all the information will be lost on them.
Brand storytelling isn’t new; companies have used advertising to evoke emotions through storytelling for years. However, the landscape has changed, the digital revolution spurred new platforms, channels and devices through which to share and tell stories, opening greater opportunities, but simultaneously greater challenges.
How do you cut through the noise, get your stories heard and resonate with the consumer? Here are my top tips for the art of storytelling in business:
This question is a common one that is regularly asked by clients: “What does our company have to say on social media, in a case study, in a newsletter etc. Why will anyone care?”
Firstly, everyone has stories. It’s the day-to-day things that you take for granted, which provide great content. From your customers’ stories, events you’re attending, an exciting project you’re working on, to a new product or service you’ve introduced, stories can be found everywhere.
And why will people care? By drawing on real life examples and telling stories through characters your audience will resonate with, the stories will be one’s people want to hear.
What is your brand and company about? Do you pride yourself on excellent customer service? Are you innovative, quirky, fun or you just really believe that your products or services are great? Define what makes your company great, work out how you are least like the competition and tell that story.
Go back to basics of telling a story. Have a beginning, middle and end. Think of the who, what, why, when principal to help you set out everything you want to get across to the client.
If you present a conflict or dilemma, follow it up with a solution. Remember everybody likes a happy ending.
When presenting, say everything with conviction and show emotion. This will help the listener/audience engage with you and will be hooked into what you are saying.
Remember it’s all about them not you. You need to understand your target market and audience and engage with them as you would in real life; appeal to people’s lifestyles, problems, interests and needs.
Providing content is key and you need to be thinking how you can add value your audience/customer. Your stories need to be not only relevant and engaging, they must be easily digestible.
Stories can come in many forms; pictures, videos and infographics. These can be fantastic ways of sharing a brand story and engaging the consumer.
Consider the share ability of the content too. Consumers don’t go sharing the technical spec of your product or listing your business services to their friends. Instead they tell the stories of the benefits; the impact your product or service has on real lives, how it made them feel.
Build trust with your customers. People will buy into your brand if they feel they can trust you. This will guarantee them coming back for more.
Give people a reason to come back to you. You have done all the hard work, building the relationship, giving them something to talk about and now you have them hooked, drip feed them more of your tricks. ‘hooks’ and ‘teasers’ create reactions and questions which you want to exude off.
Above all else be consistent and hone in on your craft. Believe in what you are doing and do it with a purpose.