What’s easier for you to remember? An abstract, conceptual theory or facts or an inspiring, twisted plot?
The answer is obvious. Everyone knows a story is a much more entertaining and effective tool to convey a message. For the speaker, it’s simpler to articulate; for the audience, it’s easier to understand and remember.
This is one of the reasons many spiritual masters teach through parables and tales, and philosophers use allegories and fables to convey their deepest thoughts.
That’s why the most inspiring public speakers and leaders often use personal anecdotes to get their message through to their audience.
For example, Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, and Winston Churchill are remembered as extremely influential people. All of them had strong talents in the areas of public speaking and negotiating skills. Nowadays, we have influential people who can easily rivet an audience with one or two words.These people, like Steve Wozniak, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Bill Gates, are at the point where no one can replace them, and they are truly great leaders of this era. These word-painters know how to influence both people around them and those who are far away. They narrate stories and we listen.
What is the magic behind the stories? Are we hard-wired this way or is it a matter of an acquired taste? We believe while a well thought out argument, a theory or a formula appeals to the left side of the brain, a good story has the ability to connect both the left (rational) and the right (intuitive) sides. The connection cements memories.
If we speak about a business niche, storytelling is equally important in this area as it gives compelling reasons for consumers to buy your products. Moreover, storytelling promotes creating a good brand. As we know, a good brand can inspire trust for your business with customers, employees, and suppliers.
Most brands fall into the trap of talking about too many things and not having a laser focus on their story. For example, BMW could have said their cars are stylish, powerful and spacious. But, they chose to stick one story for the last 40 years: BMWs are for people who love driving.
Another example, Forbes ran an article about a collector who paid $300 for an old hockey jersey. He later learned it was worn by Mark Messier during the New York Rangers’ 1993–94 championship season. The collector shared the story and sold the sweater at auction for $8,365.
Storytelling has ushered in a new era, especially in the marketing and communications industry. Powerful stories can not only give your brand a strong identity but also make your brand interesting, engaging and inspirational.
People don’t buy products. People buy the story.
Storytelling in business focuses on the human side of work. Basically, it means recounting anecdotes instead of listing facts. Good stories spark interest, surprise the audience, persuade and inspire. Try to make your story strong enough to move your audience and trigger an emotional response. Chances are they recall you based on how they feel at the moment they hear your tale.
You can pitch a product until you’re blue in the face, but people won’t care unless you give them a trigger to do so.
Good stories don’t assume relevancy; they prove it. They make the case, “You should take the time to read this story because it’s potentially important to you personally or to your community.”
A strong narrative has the potential to be incredibly powerful. Creating a unique thread in your story can enable you to really connect with your audience. A good narrative brings your personality and the heart through what you say. Relevant and interesting content is the best way brands can catch the people’s attention.
What’s the best way to tell the brand story?
A great story about your company succinctly captures:
- what you offer
- to whom
- why you are different
Nailing these charts the course for every other decision you make going forward.
What you offer. This is a crisp and short description of the market need you are addressing. For example, Diet Coke has a unique proposition for its consumers: It’s refreshing, great tasting and contains just 1 calorie per can, and it reflects in the stories they tell. Thus, it attracts the attention of people who are dieting.
To whom. Your customers need to be at the front and center of your story. You only exist because of them, and you were put on this planet to serve them. They are the true participants in your story.
Why you are different. Here you should describe who you are as a team, what you value you have, and what you believe. The story about why you are different influences your company culture, your ability to recruit and retain the right talent, the services, and products your team creates, and how your team behaves over the long term. Also, this impacts the way reporters, customers, partners and investors talk about you when you aren’t in the room. For example, De Beers International Corporation took the not-so-popular diamonds in the 1940s and made them the ultimate symbol of everlasting love and romance, with one iconic tagline: Diamonds are forever.
Another clear example of storytelling marketing is Coca-Cola. This company is certainly the most famous example of the use of storytelling. Going back to “Factory of Happiness,” a story written in 1944 by Iris Bell for the company, Coca-Cola’s teams have succeeded in involving their customers in their advertising and creating emotional power.
Harry’s is also a good instance of storytelling. Harry’s is a great corporate storytelling example because it shows how one brand has cracked through a heavily saturated market with a good story. They sell shavers and shaving products and, as a relatively small company, have managed to compete with longstanding giants like Gillette and Schick to gain a $2.4 billion share in the market. Using short vignettes of a man having more time to cook breakfast because he cut down on shaving time or a man spending a weekend alone at a lake house, they have captured moments that make viewers connect to their brand.
Another great way to successfully use storytelling and achieve good results is to use a video, graphics or an interesting picture because some people perceive information better visually, and a bright picture can attract customers attention better.
By the way, there are plenty of special tools available to make a really brilliant brand story, video, content, picture, and many other attention-grabbers. For instance, you can use Google storybuilder, Storybird, ZooBurst digital storytelling tool, or Publbox . As for Publbox, this platform stands out among others because it allows you to tell a meaningful story by means of different, build-in templates, graphics, and text. The service provides users with a great set of the necessary features to make the content as engaging as possible.
Human Resources and the art of storytelling
Many organizations like to emphasize gaining a competitive advantage in the market. Advanced equipment, new technology, good marketing strategy, excellent customer services and many other elements can be factors in building up reputations. However, human resource is still the most important element for determining the success or failure of an organization. Without HR support, the company’s daily business functions are not done well and in a timely fashion.
What can we do in HR? It starts with understanding of our role. The Human Resources leaders share the responsibility of developing talent, coaching leaders and energizing employees. As the end result, they should maximize employee potential to achieve organizational goals.
The company’s brand inevitably trickles down as the employer’s brand, affecting the way employees think, feel, and talk about the company. HR is important to organizations in myriad areas, ranging from strategic planning to company image. It serves to motivate employees to top performance and maintain and cultivate high morale. Furthermore, human resources are important, because they can become your storytellers and brand advocates or ambassadors.
Moreover, if you have a tight budget for your content management, you can create stories with your colleagues. Employee advocacy programs prompt a company’s most trusted advocates — its employees — to share their stories with others. This significantly expands brand awareness and job opportunities, all the while building the employee’s personal brand.
A recent study conducted by the research firm, Gartner, showed only 15% of people said they trust posts made by companies on social networking sites, compared to 70% who said they trust recommendations from people they know. Due to the trustworthiness and personal nature of employee networks, “Content shared via employee advocates performs 24 times better than content shared by corporate brand channels,” said Von Bank.
HR teams can use such data to make better HR decisions, better understand and evaluate the business impact of people, improve the leadership’s decision making for people-related matters, make HR processes and operations more efficient and effective, and improve the overall well-being and effectiveness of the company’s employees. All of this can have a huge impact on a company’s ability to achieve its strategic aims. In addition, it can help to improve both the brand’s perception and awareness.
As we can see, human resources are really important to each company. Since they are able to not only find the right people but also foster a good atmosphere among all employees and increase the company status in comparison to their competitors.
Good stories stick longer
Today, there’s so much noise filling up our news feeds, most of which we tune out. Form a clear narrative and create useful content to help people find your story interesting and intriguing. Social media and modern technologies present an amazing opportunity to tell your story to a huge audience. Of course, the stories may not apply in all business situations; however, they are a powerful business tool not to be overlooked.