Getting people to pay attention to your company and even taking it a step further, getting them to become customers, can be a challenge. There’s so much noise and competition to overcome that it is easy to get lost. What makes companies stand out? Think about your favorite companies. What do they have in common? Why do you like them? It’s almost a guarantee that all of your favorite companies have this one thing in common; they know how to tell a good story.
Any successful salesman will tell you, being a good storyteller is everything. Whether we know it or not, we as human beings pay attention to all kinds of stories, every day. Communications expert, John Bates, describes it like this, “If you can’t properly convey a story then your products are not going to appeal to your audience.” Bates claims that we love stories so much that we have to be trained to not fall for anecdotal evidence. Why? “Because our brains value stories over anything else.”
Stories are one way for your brand to be consistent and you can incorporate them into all different aspects of your business. Stories can be used for all purposes, from bringing in customers to bringing in investors. Don’t underestimate the power of a good story. I’m sure we can all think of a time when under the influence of a story (whether we knew it or not), we made a decision we normally would not have made.
To help you become a better storyteller, here are 6 tips to help increase your storytelling superpowers:
- Include the 5 C’s – Circumstance, Curiosity, Characters, Conversations and Conflict- Just think about any story you’ve read that you actually paid attention to. We’re pretty sure it had all of these. Set the story with the circumstances, but don’t over share—that leaves people bored. People need to wonder something and be curious about your story, if they know the end from the beginning, why would they care? And a story without any people, dialogue or conflict isn’t a story at all. These are basics elements, but if you leave any one out, your story will not have the same impact.
- Give your brand a personality – This will not only help customers and everyone else better relate to your company, it will help you better understand your own company and how to tell its story. Use real places and things in your story. Think to yourself, if your company were a human being, what would it look like, think, feel, care about? Then use your brand as the main character in all of your marketing endeavors.
- Don’t be afraid to get emotional – Humans are emotional creatures by habit, so make sure your story evokes some kind of emotion. Emotions are way more powerful and motivating that facts and figures, whether we want to admit it or not. You don’t have to make them cry -(although that can be a powerful strategy) excitement, loyalty, empathy, contentment, and even envy can all be great motivators, too.
- Talk to your audience, not at them – No one wants to sit and listen to you brag about yourself. Why should they care? Try talking to your audience, like they are real people (because they are!) and like they are there with you. Business jargon and fancy words will just lose people. Talk to your audience like you would a friend, not like a fan.
- Be “sense”-ational – Lure your “readers” in with details (not too many) that play to their senses. Set the scene up with imagery so vivid and rich in “sense”-ational word smithery that they can’t help but want to continue reading. Evoke more than just sights and sounds. Describe textures, smells, tastes, and feelings as they fit in with your brand.
- Don’t be afraid to try new techniques – Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith. Try something new with your storytelling, like not starting at the beginning. Telling your story out of order may seem a little backwards but if done properly, strategies like this can make for a more interesting story. Bates says, “Life happens in chronological order – that’s boring! Start in the middle, where things are exciting. It’s much more interesting.”
Storytelling can really help build your brand and turn potential customers into loyal advocates. The power of a story can build or destroy. Just think about the damage a negative story, whether true or not, can do to a business or individual. Don’t have the time or expertise to craft your business’ awesome story? We’re here to help!