Why stories matter in business

March 8, 2018

Storytelling in business

In every time period, and in every culture throughout history, the art of storytelling has been ever-present. Storytelling has connected us through generations. When done well, it delivers a message, puts us in a compelling characters’ shoes and evokes powerful emotions.

It should, therefore, come as no surprise then to learn that storytelling is a tool that allows you to connect with your customers and prospects on a more intimate level than many other marketing methods.

Facts, figures and professional opinions can certainly tell a prospective customer a fair bit about your offering but, at the end of the day, these things are not going to get your prospect over the line – thinking is good, but ultimately you need to make them feel.


How storytelling works

Stories are amazing at getting people to relate to you. Stories have characters, and those characters have thoughts, feelings, challenges, failures, successes – things that everyone deals with on a personal level. By creating a character, you’re instantly giving the audience someone (or something) to root for. And that’s not just us saying it; studies have shown that character-driven stories consistently cause oxytocin synthesis – and oxytocin makes people more trustworthy, generous, charitable, and compassionate. In other words, it makes them more empathetic (which can only be a good thing!)

When listening to or reading a great story, an audience will go along on the ride with you, experiencing much of the same thing, including its inherent emotions. This is why storytelling is so incredible – you can effectively tell people how to feel.


Integrating storytelling into your communications

Now that you know how important storytelling is, the challenge is effectively implementing it into your marketing communications and your branding.

Many businesses promote their services based on what they offer – “you’ll X get amount of value but you’ll only have to pay Y dollars”. Unfortunately, this price-based proposition makes it difficult to distinguish anything else that what makes your company or offering different, or more special, than any of your competitors.

That’s where storytelling comes in.

Contrary to what you may think, your customers aren’t interested in buying your service, they’re interested in buying your company (a small part of it, anyway). Or, put another way: your customers care more about why you’re doing what you’re doing than anything else.

What problem are you trying to solve? Who are you trying to help? What problems have you faced along the way and how have you overcome them? These are the kinds of questions that will resonate with your audience and get them invested in your company. If you can communicate this kind of information through a compelling narrative, your customers will also be much more likely to stick with you for the long term.


Where to use stories

Your website is a great place to start delivering the message about why you do what you do. It’s important to give your customers an understanding of your business as a whole – where it’s come from and where it’s going to.

However, that’s not the only channel available at your disposal. There are a number of other places to exercise your storytelling muscles, including blog posts, case studies, and posts on social media.

When it comes to delivering compelling narratives about your business, the world is your oyster – and if you’d like help to craft your story, or ideas for how you can better share it with the world, get in touch.