6 tips for powerful business storytelling
Louise Greaves Apr 27, 2021 3:39:06 PM
Stories are as old as humans. And we’re obsessed with them, even when we sleep our mind tells us stories (even if you can’t always remember them). We all have fond memories of curling up with a good book, or being read stories as a child. They’re part of our lives from before we can even talk.
Every business has a story to tell, but the magic lies in how you tell it. A slide deck packed full of stats and charts won’t evoke a strong connection to your audience. But if you can tell the story of how you helped someone, just like your customer, overcome an obstacle and solve their problem, you might just notice your audience lean in a bit closer to listen.
Stories build empathy, compassion and trust, helping create a connection between the storyteller and their audience.
What is storytelling?
Storytelling is an art. The art of storytelling is using a narrative and facts to communicate a specific message to your audience. It’s not a process or a method, and it takes practice.
But storytelling is at the heart of marketing, so if you’re in the business of persuasion, you need to learn to spin a good yarn.
Why do we tell stories?
Stories help the audience understand a concept and relate to a message. You can put yourself in the shoes of the different characters and think how you would react. They can also help you grasp a complicated concept. Teachers use them all the time, in fact you probably use stories and anecdotes to explain things constantly without even thinking about it.
Stories bring people together, motivate, inspire and move them to action. All the things you’d love your customers to feel about your brand.
6 tips for telling a good story
1. Know your audience
As with anything in marketing, you need to start with your audience. Think about everything you know about your target audience, what motivates them and what issues they have that you can solve? How will your story relate to your audience and make them feel understood?
2. Be authentic
Brand storytelling can often seem superficial and oriented around the company rather than people. But your audience doesn’t care about a faceless organization, they care about people, especially people like them. If your story is vulnerable and real it will make a far bigger impact and gain trust. Don’t try and fool your audience with a tall tale, you’ll get caught out. The truth is far more powerful. It doesn’t need to be an elaborate story, it can be as simple as sharing an obstacle, how that made the protagonist feel and what they did about it.
3. Don’t make yourself the hero
Don’t make the company the protagonist of your story. Your audience will connect far more with your tale if it is told through a human lens, whether that’s a specific customer, a passionate employee or a dedicated partner. You’re the trusty side-kick helping the hero achieve their goals not the knight in shining armour.
4. Have a clear outcome
A great story leaves the audience with something. Whether that’s a lesson learned and not to be repeated or a feeling of hope that something is about to change for the better. Know from the outset what emotion you want to evoke within your audience and any steps you want them to take after listening. A good business story leaves the audience with a hopeful, thought-provoking message and the knowledge or desire to take action. That action could be as simple as visiting your website.
5. Be consistent
You wouldn’t dream of being inconsistent with your visual brand identity and the same goes for your brand story. While it can be adapted to appeal to a specific audience or platform, the core morals and messages need to be consistent. A conflicting or disorganized series of stories can leave customers confused and mistrustful. Your story can have many different chapters, but they are all leading the audience towards the same ending.
6. Know your medium
Stories can be told via any medium, you need to pick the one most suitable for you. Some stories are watched, some are read and some are listened to. How you tell your story will depend on many things, for example time, budget and even world events. For instance the pandemic is forcing many more stories to be told digitally than in person.
Written stories, via articles, blog posts or even books are often the easiest entry point to business storytelling. Every business has a website and can start to tell written stories.
Spoken stories can be in the form of podcasts, live events, or pitches and presentations. Because of the “live”, often unedited nature of many spoken events these require more practice and skill to artfully grip your audience and convey your message.
Video stories are immensely powerful, if a picture is worth a thousand words a video must surely be worth a million! Video is the most compelling way to drive an emotional response in your audience as you can show as well as tell your story.
Creating powerful videos can seem like a daunting task, but with the right partner it’s easy. The Sparkol Studio team of scriptwriters and animators are ready to help you tell your story.
Or you can give it a go yourself using our drag and drop video creator tool, VideoScribe. It’s easier than you think.