"Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued."
- Brene Brown
Beth Comstock (Marketing & Innovation, GE) says in the above video, "Behind every person...behind every company...behind every thing, there's a story of how it got there, and the most relevant stories connect on a personal level."
In today's competitive market, every business is fighting for to be heard. I don't know about you, but I find the tsunami of information through social media and emails so overwhelming some days, it all becomes a blur and I can end up feeling numb. It's hard to know where to begin and what to pay attention to. Like every other business person, my time is limited, so what little time I do have when I'm searching for information, a product or service, has to be used wisely and it has to be super-focused. It also means that the businesses who are vying for my time, also not only have to be super-focused in their messaging, but their message has to really grab my attention long enough for me to want to listen.
So why do you need storytelling?
"Today it's not so much about market-share, it's all about 'Mind Share'. We have to get into the minds of our audience and our target customers." - Beth Comstock
And what better way to get into the minds of your audience, than with good storytelling? Storytelling is an art. You can't just tell any story and expect to mesmerise your audience and turn them into raving customers. It has to be a story that's strongly told, and most of all...it has to be relevant! So how to do you tell a relevant story? You have to find all the possibilities - the stories that are there waiting to be told. You'd be surprised where these stories are hiding. But you don't have to look very far. The first and easiest place to look is in your own backyard--your personal or company story, and/or the story of how your business got to where it is now. Why was your business incepted in the first place? What was the desire behind it's inception? What are you doing right now in your business that's relevant and people want to know more about because it will solve a problem or make their lives better?
You can find other stories within the framework of your employees or your customers. You don't have to dig too deep to find them. But in order to find them, it requires that you connect with people first. Unless people trust you, they're not going to be so open to sharing their stories. But if you have good rapport with your staff (if you have staff) and with your customers, you'll find that you've probably uknowningly uncovered their stories, but you just haven't acknowledged their presence or relevance yet. So stop and look at all the possibilities of where stories can be uncovered and then developed.
Once you've found your stories and uncovered all the details, it's a matter of then cutting through that detail to find if and what's relevant. It's not only about what's relevant to your target customer, but it must be relevant to your objectives and the product and/or service that you want to focus on. So you then need to simplify. Get it down to the bare bones--the basic outline which holds the key messages and purpose of why you're telling that particular story. If you don't, your message will be lost and it will confuse your audience and they'll switch off.
"Simplify--how are you memorable when you have complicated things to talk about?" - Beth Comstock
Beth says so insightfully, businesses tend to get stuck in the "logical, mathematical, financial dealings", when in reality if you truly want to connect with your customer, you have to be about the story--the story that's relevant to them. The story that taps into their emotion in a way that they're no longer focused on you selling them on your product, idea or service--but the story that has them so focused on your message because they relate so strongly, they're now deeply engaged and they're listening as though they're hearing you for the first time.
So start taking a magnifying glass to your business and the people you connect with on a regular basis, to start finding stories of relevance. And then, start sharing your stories. You'll be surprised at how much interest you'll create, and the exponential results you'll gain from your prospective customers, who you can then turn into long-term, raving customers who keep bringing you more and more business.
And if you're not too sure how to use story in your business marketing, then call me on 0488 723 673 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a quick chat. Sometimes it just takes someone standing outside of your circle to see your business with clear and fresh eyes.
Ciao for now...
Kerry :) x