“We need a new narrative.” – a now common refrain in many executive suites. With the world changing so quickly all the time, and change bringing different impact – competition, technology, regulation, customer behavior, talent – it is possible for your company’s narrative to become instantly outdated or feel oddly generic unless you take care to judiciously maintain your story.
You want a story that excites partners, inspires employees, attracts customers, creates brand loyalty, and engages influencers. A good story in business is concise but comprehensive. It organizes vision, beliefs, company culture, and data in one fell swoop. It’s specific but has room to grow; it defines your brand, communicates the strategy and company vision, embodies your culture, and bring the company visibility.
When done correctly, storytelling can do wonders for your business. It can turn your brand into a legacy, generate sales and profit, create a robust marketing strategy, define your company vision, and win the affection and loyalty of audiences, just to name a few.
In its simplest form, it’s the process of sharing information creatively, and creating a narrative to communicate something to an audience. Stories can be factual, embellished, or improvised to showcase the core message better.
Storytelling is an ancient art form deeply embedded in every culture and society. It represents a common approach that everyone understands and relates to regardless of race, language, or heritage. Stories bring passion and imagination to create a sense of community among tellers and listeners alike.
So why tell stories?
Storytelling conveys purpose. Businesseses with a purpose will ultimately stand out from the competition and capture consumers’ hearts (and then wallets).
In our current environment where everyone is digitally saturated and distracted, attention is now a valuable commodity. The goal for any story should be for it to hold that attention, which makes storytelling both essential and relevant. Below are some reasons why storytelling is necessary.
1. Business Development
Whenever you come up with a new business idea, develop a new product, or aim to grow your business, the art of storytelling is crucial to the process. It provides the context that your stakeholders and customers can understand and get behind. It also builds trust and explains why your product or service is worth investing in or buying.
2. Competitive Advantage
With so much information available for consumers, your business message can easily get lost in the noise. Consumer decision-making processes are as emotional as they are logical, so a good storytelling ability can set you apart from the competition.
3. Marketing and Advertising
Storytelling is a powerful marketing strategy because it allows businesses and brands to be more relatable and evoke the emotions of consumers.
4. Employee Engagement and Efficiency
Employees are the heart of your business and its best asset, so you need them committed to accomplishing your goals. Storytelling allows you to cultivate the right company culture. It goes beyond sharing your vision, incorporating company history, struggles, values, and goals.
5. Make Emotional Connections
Stories evoke emotional reactions. Consumers relate and connect with real stories that cultivate trust in a business. Taking the time to humanize your brand will help you create deep-rooted loyalty.
Storytelling is both an art and a process, and something worth mastering and implementing for both your business and its products. Stories build community, inspire action and engagement, build trust in your company and its products, and create brand loyalty.
With endless information and products to choose from, consumers get spoilt for choice. They no longer make purchasing decisions based solely on what your company is selling – it’s also important to them why you are selling it. Storytelling helps creatively communicate that and ensures your intent resonates.
About the Author:
Heidi Souerwine, CMP, is the Executive Director of ASAP and manages content strategy for ASAP and its portfolio of products, including the APC, EA Summit, EA Ignite, and PACE. Prior to moving to Maine and joining the ASAP team in 2017, she spent 15 years in Washington, DC managing training and events from 10 – 10,000 attendees for international membership associations, non-profits, and the federal government. Heidi is passionate about needs-based program development, purposeful event design, and cultivating active community and engagement.