Storytelling. Just the sound of it sounds almost not serious, as if there’s no place for it around a boardroom table or amongst very serious business people.
Yet, storytelling is a very serious topic. It deals with the heart of business, it answers the most basic question on which business is founded: why should I care? Why should I buy, use, share your product or service.
Storytelling is about understanding the people for whom you hope will care. It is the language they understand and on which they respond and react.
A story is an idea. It is the only way to show value, to show a new way of doing things for your customer and your stakeholders. Storytelling is about understanding your customer’s life and how you are about to make it better, much better.
A story is not just about the facts, it’s a gut feeling you want to give your customer, a feeling as well as a real solution.
Storytelling starts with your product or service but has to also continue to your marketing and your on-going conversation with your customers throughout your different channels.
Storytelling needs to be human. It needs to be transparent and real. The first thing in storytelling is telling why you even thought of creating your business in the first place. If you introduce new product and new services, start by creating context and why you care about this problem. This will create empathy and your customers will also start caring about you.
Your story isn’t a campaign. It’s your DNA. Your DNA has to be consistent across all platforms and channels; your ads, website, customer service, employees. You need to keep your story real. People can smell bullshit. People love sincerity and authenticity.
Storytelling requires a strategy. You need to map out your clients, gain a deeper understanding as to what makes them tick. You need to understand your competitive landscape and you need to understand the risks and rewards for every story / narrative you may choose.
Storytelling is not copywriting. Storytelling is not design. Storytelling is not PR. Storytelling is not advertising.
Storytelling is composing a wonderful piece of music and conducting a very complex orchestra with multiple objectives and balancing between your business needs and your customer’s wants.
What if there is no story?
Some companies / entities really don’t have a story to tell. This post isn’t intended for their CEO or CMO. This post is intended for the marketing professional or stakeholder who knows they have an opportunity to not only tell a story, but take ownership of a big idea and become something for their customers.
This requires patience and faith in the process, knowing that it will eventually bear fruit.