Storytelling (stɔːritelɪŋ). The activity of telling or writing stories.
We’ve always told stories. They are central to human existence. Just ask any anthropologist. We like stories because they help us bringing sense to the world. When we’re kids, fables teach us about the dangers around us. I’m sure today you wouldn’t take the darkest shortcut, or talk to a wolf dressed like an old lady.
Even in your daily life. If something happens to you, let’s say, you’re late for work because your car broke, you probably won’t tell your boss just that. You’ll say something like: “oh, you won’t believe it. I was on the highway, almost arriving when suddenly I hear a strange sound. I stop the car to see what’s happening, and there is just smoke coming out of the hood! I had to call my mechanic and wait for help to come.” And that, my friends, is a story.
Now, Let’s Talk About Business
Nowadays, there’s so much information circling around consumers, that it’s hard to get their attention. Not only you have tons of competitors trying to sell the same kind of product to the same consumers, as you have a lot of channels that you can use to reach them, from the Internet to smartphones and social media. And it gets even harder when you add to the equation the fact that the average attention span of a person is 12 seconds.
That’s where stories can help you. The art of storytelling is the art of captivating people’s attention. That’s why, for decades, companies’ from the most different industries have been using stories as part of their marketing and sales strategy.
The thing about storytelling when it comes to business is that you create a conversation with your consumers or prospective consumers, rather than just talking to them. You speak to the emotion and you make your consumers relate to what you’re telling them.
A great example of this is MacDonald’s. Do you remember all the scandals involving the food chain in the beginning of the millennium regarding food safety? Still, the company was able to rise from the ashes by creating an emotional marketing campaign focused on its suppliers, like Frank Martinez, a potato producer.
So, What Makes a Great Story?
Stories can be told in many different ways. It can be a video, it can be a text, it can be an image or audio, social media, a website, a mobile app, even virtual reality is already an option. No channel works better than the other. It’s all about how you tell the story.
And although there is no secret recipe, there are a few things you can have in mind.
● You need to have a beginning and an end. That’s an obvious one. Any story needs to start with a problem, a tension, to hook your consumer as quickly as possible. Then, during the course of the narrative, you give the solution. In the case of your business, that solution is your product.
● Put some emotion on it. A great way to make your consumer relate to your story is through emotions. Make them feel sympathy, envy, or intrigued by your story. This will increase the connection with your brand or product.
● Be authentic. Don’t just make a story out of the blue. Your story needs to be real, otherwise, from the moment your consumers smell the fake on it, you’ve already lost them.
● Make your consumers relate to the story. Tell a problem that your consumers recognize and have to deal with. That will help you create a connection and grab their attention.
A Real Life Story
Some stories are easier to tell than others. Not all of us are a worldwide fast-food chain. But every business has a story to tell. For example: imagine that your product is a digital banking platform. Nothing sexy about that. Now imagine what’s behind that product. Why would a bank need this platform? Well, everyone uses banks, right? But opening a bank account or ask for a loan, can be a painful process. There’s all that bureaucracy, then the system is complex and old. I mean, we’ve all been there, right?
A story that’s well-crafted reminds people of challenges and problems that, at a certain point in life, they had to deal with. Or, at least, reminds them of someone who was in that situation. A good story shows them how they can solve that pain. And that’s an incredibly powerful business weapon.
Struggling with engaging with your audience? At Hi Interactive we have a team dedicated to storytelling in motion.