The Art of Storytelling for Business
As many of my friends know, I love to storytelling. It’s the natural way that I like to connect with people. And it’s no different when it comes to business.
Storytelling is a vital part of who we are as human beings. Stories are what compel us and motivate us to take action. And everyone can relate to a good story. Storytelling is vital for businesses too, and is necessary in order to make a true connection with customers and clients. You may be wondering what stories have to do with business. It turns out that the answer is quite a lot. Everyone and everything has a story, and that includes businesses. A good story isn’t just about marketing and making more sales – it is about forging trust and relationships.
Why should businesses tell stories?
If you think about it, a business is already a story. Someone started that business, and invested in it. The business changes as it grows and gains more customers. The business sells products that add value to peoples’ lives. The business has plans for future expansion.
All of these are stories.
Who in the travel business has not heard the story of Butch Stewart and Sandals and felt inspired? Who hasn’t read of Steve Jobs and Apple and gotten drawn into the story? The greatest stories have journeys, and that’s what the story of a business really is. It’s about the journey of an idea. And this is the kind of story you want your customers and clients to get invested in. Your brand contains that story.
When your customers are invested in the story of your business, it goes far beyond mere marketing. A good story can determine whether a customer comes to you only once or occasionally, or is a customer for a lifetime. It means so much more than just getting a few extra sales.
How can you tell a better story with your business?
Start with the basics. The main elements of a story are characters, setting, and plot. Who are the main characters in the story and what are their roles? Where did the business begin? And what challenges had to be overcome in order to start the business and make it prosper and grow? Remember that every good story has a journey and that journey has challenges that have to be overcome and tension that has to be resolved.
As you outline the story of your business, remember that it should be genuine and sincere; it must also relate to your customers. Think about how you can emotionally connect with them.
A good story will pose questions but eventually reveal answers. Think about how when you watch a movie, you start to wonder what will happen next, what characters will do, what the twists will be, and what the ending will be. Figure out what questions are in the story of your business, and then resolve them. For example: what great need was there that your business fulfilled?
Finally – and in this era it is perhaps most important – include your customers in the story. People want to be involved in great stories, so let your customers in and allow them to collaborate with you and your business as you continue new chapters of the story into the future.