Storytelling for Business

Isn’t it time you wrote your story? I’m not talking about writing a book, although there may be a market for that within your business, I’m talking about engaging your potential clients to a point that they see you as an authority in your field.

There is no better way to engage a client than to tell a story. Humans are hard-wired to want to hear, read, and understand stories. You can do so much with them! You can educate, entertain, share experience, etc. In order to really make a difference in your audience’s mind though, you need to make an emotional connection.

In order to make an emotional connection, you need to know who your target audience is and what they will make a connection with while reading. Once you know what your story is, you can tell it across multiple media and in many different ways. Direct mail, Radio, Billboard, Displays, Banners, etc. All of these things can be a piece of the puzzle or they can tell a story with just an image and a few words. It’s up to you, or up to us if you want, to find the best way to tell that story.

So how does one tell a story without writing a book?

Well, most stories carry a similar structure, and the audience expects that a good story will use this structure to surprise and delight. Ready for the secret formula? We grabbed this off of MarketingProfs, who nabbed it from Pixar:

Once upon a time there was (don’t actually say “once upon a time” unless you must):
Every day:
Then one day:
Because of that:
And because of that:
Until finally:

That’s it. So simple! But how do you incorporate this into your brand story? There are so many ways to use this template, from telling your brand story to making an advertisement.

Let’s fill it out for say…a beauty product maker looking to show people how their product helps heal dry skin.

product imageOnce upon a time there was a fearful woman who lived in a dry, dry desert. Her fear of anything touching her skin was calmed in this open environment, but her skin was dry. Every day she went out to the well and poured water over her dry skin, but it never helped. Then one day she tripped over an Aloe plant, the only one around for yards. She cursed herself as she saw it had broke open onto her skin. Because she didn’t know if it would hurt her skin, she tried to vigorously remove the cactus juices from her leg using olive oil. Because of that, she actually absorbed some aloe and oil into her skin. She waited and waited to see if she would get a rash, until finally she noticed that she instead had incredibly soft and smooth skin.

Let’s mix that up with a little Who, What, How, Why: We are Better than Mirage. We make skin-soothing products for sensitive skin by using desert aloe plants and without added harsh chemicals. We do this to help women and men suffering from sensitive dry skin to achieve real, lasting relief.

Here’s another!

Much easier way to runOnce upon a time there was an aspiring yet clumsy graphic designer from back East who wanted a high end design job. Every day she wore shoes with flat heels because she knew she would have a hard time with anything else. Then one day she spotted a job that she really wanted at a high end design firm. She got an interview! Because of that, she thought she would look more professional in high heels, and so she wore them to the interview. And because of that, she fell on her face on the way through the interview door. When she was finally out of that horridly embarrassing interview and at home in her usual routine, she got a call telling her she was the best candidate for the job!

Who, What, How, Why: That woman is now a retired professor from Sac State University.  She inspired students to work hard and learn to handle their mistakes with grace by telling them this story. She told it because she wanted them to succeed. She also told it to make her seem more human because, let’s face it, sitting next to somebody who made millions of dollars over her life just to pick out colors (among other things) is intimidating!

Want to give it a try?

You don’t have to sell hard in your story; just share something that makes you unique, or something people can relate to. You’re essentially identifying a pain point that your audience has, and letting them know that it’s solvable. You will want to know what you are doing with the solvable problem because eventually, your potential client becomes the star of their own story, and you want to be ready to give them the best ending possible.

Need a little help planning or executing your story? Give us a call or drop a note!

888.282.8764 • print@api-marketing.com

Published by

Danielle Apple

Danielle is head of our graphic design department. A self-proclaimed "sponge," she is addicted to learning about marketing and to eating chocolate.