Storytelling: It’s Not Just for Books Anymore

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Once upon a time . . .

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .

Call me Ishmael.

The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day.

These words always introduce a story to be shared. People sit up a bit straighter. Listen a bit closer. And are ready to hear the tale to be told. We’ve programmed since we’ve been young, to prepare to pay attention as something wild or wonderful will unfold before us.

In today’s world of non-stop marketing messages through advertising, email, text – among many, many other forms – information is targeted at us, and it’s hard to decipher what is relevant and what is just “noise.” That’s where true storytelling significantly enhances your ability to raise above the racket for your marketing efforts.

Think of the last television advertisement or Facebook video that has most caught your attention. Those that resonate with most people share a story in some form rather than informing us about products or service attributes.

We want to feel something when it comes to the brands we buy because, sorry folks, at the end of the day, most products are mostly identical.  Sure, the taste of one product may slightly differ from another and a service offering may provide a minutely different perspective, but sharing a story significantly impacts and has a direct correlation on how people make choices in their buying patterns.

Here are some tips to incorporate storytelling into your marketing efforts:

  • Website. Take them on a journey. I’ve not met anyone who has gotten excited about a site – whether it’s for a physician’s office, a consumer product or a school – when a direct correlation between your offering and their results are not prominently included within it. Messages and storytelling about your business can be shared through the visuals and testimonial statements of happy patients, consumers or school children/parents and their outcomes. Don’t forget, your site is meant to attract both clients/customers and future employees. Your website is your virtual front door, so welcome people into it.
  • Advertising. Your clients/consumers want to transform their personal or business needs and Your clients/consumers want to transform their personal or business needs and your product may help, but are you able to share it through a storyline? Yes, yes, your product it rated better than others, but does it give people peace of mind? Does it enhance their family’s life? Does it make it makes others smile or laugh? You need to make people connect and feel something – just like that favorite book they are reading.
  • Public Relations/Outreach. Whether it is a news conference or sponsoring a tradeshow, have you put your own company’s personality into the mix? Anyone can talk through a microphone in front of others, but what information are they sharing? Is it interesting? Unique? Can you make your tradeshow booth pop with clever giveaways (no, I’m not just talking collateral, here) that make people not just stop by but also tell others to as well?

Storytelling comes in many forms – and only some of it is written – find ways to share your unique story in ways that entice people to mention it to others. But, here’s where storytelling in a book versus with your brand differs – make sure yours is authentic and honest. Otherwise “once upon a time” could turn into a real tragedy.