Did you miss our recent Storytelling webinar? Read our recap below, or watch the recording included at the end of this post!
Storytelling has been around for as long as humans have walked this earth. People have used stories to educate and entertain all throughout history, and as time has gone on, we have discovered new ways to tell stories through writing, song, dance, art, dramas, and more. But what does storytelling have to do with your brand?
The answer is everything! Stories are some of your greatest and most powerful tools for informing people about your brand – who you are, how you got here, where you plan to go, and your mission, vision, values, and more.
Having a great story to tell can help you connect with your audience in a more meaningful way and help them truly understand who you are and what you do by sparking their emotions, offering education and understanding, and even helping to set you apart from the competition.
What Role Does Storytelling Play?
So what role does storytelling play in your business? Good question! It’s more than just to create some advertisements. According to Marketing Week, a brand’s story isn’t “just something businesses should refer to every time they launch a marketing campaign or issue a press release. It should be the foundations on which a future growth strategy is built.”
Bernadette Jiwa further explains that one of the real roles of storytelling in marketing is to “show your customer how your product makes him the hero of his story.” In other words, the story shouldn’t be about telling the product story, but rather telling “the story of the customer in the presence of the product.” Some great examples Jiwa points to include IKEA’s “Start Something New” folding chair and Johanna Basford’s coloring books.
Where to Find Your Stories
There are endless places you can find a story. You just have to take the time to look around! A few examples of the kinds of stories you can tell include:
- Your history and how you got to where you are
- Your life and what led you to do what you’re doing
- How you helped a client solve a problem
- How you resolved a conflict
- Your expertise in a specific area
- Client successes
Elements of a Good Story
Now that you know the role storytelling plays in your business and where you can find a story, it’s time to figure out how to craft a story in a compelling way and find the most appropriate place to tell them. First, you’ve got to know what elements make a good story:
- A main character: Be sure to explain who they are! Where do they work? What’s his or her family like? What makes them tick?
- Human element: Using emotional touches can help people connect with your products or services on a more personal level.
- Element of surprise: An unexpected plot twist is a great way to hold the reader’s attention.
- Descriptive words: Readers like to see a story in addition to hearing or reading it. Use descriptive language that appeals to the five senses to help paint the picture in their minds in a way that will make your brand story more memorable.
- A clear beginning, middle, and end: The beginning should be attention grabbing, the middle should maintain the reader’s interest, and the end should bring the story to a nice close that shares the outcome, if applicable, and give readers a clear call to action.
Tips for Telling Your Story
Once you know what to include in your story, it’s time to tell it. It may seem like a pretty natural thing to do since we tell stories to our families, friends, and co-workers almost daily. However, it’s not always that simple. Jiwa says “It doesn’t matter how good your product or service is if you don’t understand the worldview of the person who will buy it. The first step to mastering the art of brand storytelling and being a better marketer is to stand in your customer’s shoes.” From there, here are a few good storytelling pointers to keep in mind.
First, practice! If you will be sharing your story in front of an audience or recording it, practice in front of family, friends, and even colleagues. This will help you perfect your volume, tone of voice, hand gestures, eye contact, and facial expressions, as well as how to pace your story. All of these elements are important for creating a more captivating story for the audience.
If you are writing your story for a blog, email, brochure, or other written format, include small paragraphs and bullet point lists to help make it easier to read. Also, make sure your voice is consistent throughout, the story is paced well, and that you use punctuation properly.
Storytelling is a powerful tool for your business or organization, and best of all, it’s free. Take some time to find your best stories and start telling them!