We all know the power of a good story.
Right now, you can probably think of the stories you’ve been told in movies, books or from family members that have stuck with you for years and years.
Stories are an important part of life in general, but in business, storytelling takes on a whole new role. Telling stories is one of the most powerful forms of communication businesses can use to attract, engage and inspire their audience. Stories help businesses enter their audience’s hearts, build trust and create an emotional connection with their consumers.
As a copywriter for mission-driven brands and industry giants, I know how important storytelling is when it comes to every aspect of your business. Whether you’re sending out an email announcing the launch of a new product, your sales employee is engaging with a customer in your store or over the phone, or how you communicate your brand’s vision on your website and social media posts. People crave stories.They don’t want boring or generic copy.They want to laugh, cry, smile—to feel and to be a part of something.
If you aren’t implementing storytelling at every level of your business, there is so much you are missing out on. You’re giving up the chance to connect, to educate, to inspire, to build trust and to drive sales in a genuine way. Here’s just how powerful storytelling for your business can be.
Connection: Stories bring people together. They are a universal language of sorts. We all process the same emotions of fear, love, hope, etc., and sharing a story can give different groups of people a sense of relation or commonality. They can bring people together and create a sense of community, and in doing so, people become more likely to buy from brands they resonate with.
Trust: Stories help foster brand loyalty. Creating a narrative around your brand not only humanizes it, but it markets it in a unique and memorable way. As your audience continues to peel back layers of your brand and gain a deeper understanding of what you stand for, they become more invested in your products or services and they’re more likely to buy from you.
Education: We use stories to explain so much of what goes on in our lives. This is no different when it comes to your business. Stories can help simplify complex concepts and make them much easier (and memorable) for your customers to understand. It can also add an element of creativity to your business that might not be as glamorous. For instance, if you have a unique product delivery process for your business, instead of sharing your 10-step process, can you share a story of a successful customer experience that showcases the benefits and uniqueness of this service?
Inspire: Stories make us human. This also works for brands, too. Gone are the days where people buy a product just to buy it, they want to invest in your brand, and in what you stand for. They’re essentially investing in a part of your story. When brands share their story and show the “real” side behind their logo and branding, they’re able to tap into their audience’s emotions. This breaks down the barrier of who’s really behind the brand.
Drive Sales: Stories can inspire and move your reader so much that they eventually take action. In a business sense, action can mean making a purchase, engaging with your brand on social media by commenting or liking a post, subscribing to your newsletter, and the list goes on.
Let’s take a look at some all-star brands you know and love and see how their storytelling sets them apart.
If we look at companies like Nike and Apple, they built their entire brands from stories. For sportswear giant, Nike, it’s all about sharing inspiring stories not only from their sponsored athletes, but also from members of their community, and the narratives behind their products. This “crowdsourced” storytelling adds dimension to the brand and allows for people to see themselves in the brand and its stories. Apple’s “coolness” factor and place as a status symbol, is due to its ability to tell great stories and connect them all back to the brand’s core values. A great example of this is their historical, “Think Different” campaign. A campaign anchored by the “Crazy Ones” spot featuring movers and shakers like Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., Martha Graham, among others, celebrating those who did things differently. Apple ultimately brought forth the idea that one had to think differently in order to buy an Apple computer.
There’s a handful of ads and slogans out there from your favorite brands. But the ones that stick with us aren’t just the catchy phrases or jingles, it’s the stories behind them. The ones, we as viewers can see ourselves in.
Now, we may not all have multi-million dollar advertising and creative budgets, but that doesn’t mean we can’t implement elements of storytelling into our business. There are several ways you can start doing this right now.
Start by writing out everything that makes you and your business tick. Who does your business serve? What is the heart of your brand and why does your business matter? All of these questions will help you uncover key stories to implement into your marketing and communications strategies.
Is this a lot of work? Well, it’s much more impactful than throwing generic copy on your website or deliverables…but the outcome is beyond worth it. When businesses implement storytelling, they can expect to have growth in many areas. Stories do more than tell, they sell. People buy from people. Tell them who you are, what your brand stands for, and share a story that showcases why they should care.
From social media captions to newsletters, ads, or your website, infuse an element of storytelling everywhere you can and see what happens next.