Times have significantly changed over the past couple of years when it comes to promoting your company. Long gone are the days when it was enough to just showcase what your business sells, and does in order to pique someone’s interest.
These days, something like this is simply not going to cut it. If you want your brand to resonate with people, then you must resort to storytelling because that’s how everything regarding your company is going to become a lot more relatable.
Nowadays, it’s all about connecting with people, and that’s precisely what you’ll accomplish with it. If you would like to know more information when it comes to this, then cast your eyes on these facts below!
It Doesn’t Have To Be A Typical Sales Pitch
Self-promotion has become very common among various types of people, not referring to businessmen only, and even though that’s something legit, it oftentimes isn’t perceived as something positive.
People who want to be successful, and spread the word about themselves are trying to think of various ways to pitch their stuff, starting from social media platforms, numerous forms of advertising, and many other things.
And since a lot of people are not too thrilled by this, these strategies frequently receive negative feedback from potential consumers. But luckily, you’ll get a completely different outcome with storytelling.
Namely, with it, you’ll get the chance to talk about your brand without making it look like you’re trying to sell anything. You can thoroughly discuss its advantages, how beneficial your products and services can be for customers, etc.
If you would like to spice things up and make the whole story even more relatable, you can always add a personal story that relates to your business’s mission. And trust me when I say, in these instances, people will be all ears because they’ll be amused with everything you stated.
Keep in mind that precisely your attitude and approach can build the foundation of your whole marketing strategy.
Focus On Developing A Human Connection
As I stated above, true storytelling is all about creating a human connection. Therefore, if your firm has come up with some awesome idea, it is highly likely there’s a story behind it, which you should definitely employ to offer some context to people.
That’s exactly what a successful entrepreneurial marketing expert Kurt Uhlir has done numerous times. Namely, proptech and innovation keynote speaker Kurt Uhlir, who likes to use a mixture of innovation and storytelling when promoting a company, usually loves accentuating what particular idea has helped him solve a problem. He describes that entire journey (step-by-step) to ensure that his story is very relatable to listeners.
And precisely then he loves mentioning real-life situations that led to this idea. As concluded previously, storytelling should be perceived as a tool to connect with others because only then you’ll appear to be reliable and honest in their eyes.
Generally speaking, people love seeing entrepreneurs who are not trying to sell anything at all costs and force numbers their way. if the audience sees some of the flaws and virtues in the character that’s part of the story, I kid you not, they won’t forget your company so quickly. To make things a bit clearer, I’ll give you a great example of excellent storytelling that’s very relatable. Namely, in 2007, when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, he talked about how challenging it was for him to bring several devices simultaneously so he can use one for browsing the web, one for music, and the third one was a cell phone.
He got tired of it, so he decided to create an iPhone because it has it all. People loved this story because that was a typical real-life situation that a vast majority of people faced before the iPhone entered the world.
Numbers Are Not Something People Care About
Every successful leader will tell you that although numbers are relevant for the statistics, they are not something that most people will pay attention to. Fortunately, that’s not the case with storytelling.
In fact, if you want to get your message across, then you must definitely turn to storytelling because according to some reports, it’s more than 20 times more memorable than when you try to accomplish this by utilizing the facts.
Storytelling is here to make things more interesting and can effectively translate these very boring and dry numbers into something that’s captivating. A renowned psychologist Jennifer Aaker had a tendency to say:
“When data and stories are used together they resonate with audiences both intellectually and emotionally for a lasting effect, you need to persuade the rational brain but also resonate with the emotional brain.”
Take a look at these guidelines below if you want to make sure you’ve understood everything I stated above:
- Narrative + Visuals = Engage; if you combine succinct and clear communication with a compelling visualization, you will easily pique the audience’s attention.
- Narrative + Data = Explain; if you offer context for the data, you will efficiently explain to listeners what you’re talking about and how crucial your data is.
- Visuals + Data = Enlighten; developing a solid visualization that perfectly depicts the data and what it really means will accomplish that “aha” momentum.
Storytelling Transfers Value & Beliefs On The Listeners
The crucial aspect that’s going to stimulate others to act is when your beliefs and values become theirs. It is widely known (and something that every accomplished entrepreneur will confirm) that storytelling has had a long history of playing an integral role to create shared beliefs and values.
One of the best ways to achieve this is by showing your audience what stimulated you to believe in certain values and beliefs in the first place. Something like this can be very significant when a CEO decides to communicate the business’s values.
You can always turn to different interesting stories to convey what your brand stands for and discuss the values behind a certain product idea. One of the best examples of it is Peter Guber, an eminent entrepreneur, and director.
Namely, one day, he decided that he wanted to make a movie in Havana’s harbor, and that idea (in the beginning) wasn’t approved by the late Cuban President Fidel Castro. There’s no need to remind you that Fidel Castro has always been perceived as one of the biggest enemies of the United States.
However, surprisingly, Peter Guber managed to put his idea into effect. How did he do it, you’re probably wondering? Well, he did it by invoking the beliefs and values Castro had for the heritage of his country, and how, as a director, he wanted to emphasize some of those elements without jeopardizing Cuba’s privacy.
And precisely this approach eventually convinced Castro to allow Guber to film anywhere he wanted in Havana’s harbor. In fact, he permitted this more than Guber needed.
Everything You Experienced Resonates With People
The whole point of storytelling is to communicate the practical application of the services and products you offer. For instance, if your company provides business training, then you could tell a story of a certain firm that overcame adversity and stayed strong by employing the wisdom contained in one of your business-related training.
There’s a certain story formula, that’s going to help you accomplish this. It’s known as the Origin Story, and it represents an amazing story structure that has turned out to be extremely efficient in business settings.
In it, you talk about the situation before the “thing” was uncovered that turned your company around. Don’t forget during this process to mention different hurdles that you had to overcome.
Then, after everything was executed successfully, and you practically won, you can discuss the benefits that come from that success. What makes this so effective? Namely, during storytelling, (if you’re persuasive enough), the listeners will cheer with you as you’re trying to overcome every single obstacle along the way before the victory.
Once your storytelling is over, the audience will start perceiving you as somebody who is vulnerable, has numerous virtues and flaws, yet has managed to become successful. All in one! Consumers are going to love this because they will believe that what worked in these instances, will work for them too!
And you will no longer be “only” a person they can relate to, but also a spectacular leader who is honest about real-life situations and is not trying to embellish anything.
Emotions Are Everything
No matter how oftentimes people try to hide it, deep down, all of us are very emotional, and we love when we hear touching, and relatable stories. That’s because we want to connect with others and feel understood.
As I previously mentioned, if you talk about the hurdles you’ve had on your journey, people will be rooting for you as if they are going through the exact same thing. That’s why you shouldn’t hesitate to talk about your past failures and struggles.
In fact, if you accentuate them, you’ll become “more human” in the eyes of the listeners because they will realize that even the most successful people had to go through hell in order to “experience heaven”.
To give you a great example of it, I’ll tell you the story of one of the most accomplished businessmen of all time, Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba. Approximately eight years ago, he talked about how one time he tried to apply for a job at KFC, along with twenty-three other people.
The KFC store hired twenty-three out of twenty-four people, and unfortunately, Ma was the only one who didn’t get the job. Apart from that, he also wanted to mention how various schools rejected him (including Harvard, which rejected him ten times). He was very open about his previous failures and people were very moved by this speech even though they know that his net worth is more than $50 billion today. But at that very moment (when he was talking about all these rejections) they couldn’t care less about his money.
He managed to evoke various emotions and engage them, which is the most important thing when it comes to storytelling.
Storytelling Increases Employee Efficacy & Engagement
Not every company in the world is outstanding, and one of the things that make a huge difference between an average and phenomenal company is the people. If you want your company to bloom and remain successful, then you need to have workers that are always prepared to give their all when it comes to work-related tasks.
Unfortunately, the latest surveys have shown that a plethora of employees is not very stimulated and engaged, and that’s particularly the case with millennials. Many businesses nowadays, struggle to keep them productive and engaged.
So is there something that can be done about it? According to Nita Clarke and David MacLeod, there are four enablers that will lead to successful employee engagement. The most effective one is Strategic Narrative.
What does it mean? It means that every entrepreneur must rely on storytelling to connect with his or her workers and to inspire them to become more proactive and invested in their work. So what sorts of stories are most desirable in these types of situations? It could literally be anything, starting from customer impact stories, CEO stories, leader-specific stories, employee impact stories, and many others. These are just examples, and it’s up to you to decide which one you will choose.
The whole point of this is to remind you that captivating narratives that have a certain emotional context can only positively affect communication between you and your colleagues and will make you look more “human” to them.
The next thing that you’re supposed to do is to encourage your staff to share their stories too so they could get into this business-wide initiative. All of these things are going to enhance employee engagement for sure!