“Those who tell the stories rule society.” Plato might not have had branding in mind when he said that centuries ago, but it was still a prescient claim with respect to how to run a successful business in the modern day.
These days, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a successful brand that doesn’t have a good story behind it. And that’s for a good reason: solid storytelling is critical to a business’ success.
The digital era means that all of us—as brands and as individuals—have the opportunity to tell our stories to a large audience via Facebook updates, tweets, snaps and Instagram shares, and it’s changing the way we relate to one another. Now, we’ve come to expect stories as the norm because, frankly, they are.
That means that a bullet-point list of a company’s features and capabilities is no longer sufficient to engaging consumers. Now that consumers can scroll through Instagram and stumble upon an entertaining clip that tells a good story first and promotes second, a brand that doesn’t seek to connect and relate via a solid story will be overpowered by those that do.
But more than simply being entertaining for consumers, brand storytelling benefits a business in a number of distinct ways.
With the rise of social media, consumers have gotten used to directly engaging with brands. They ask questions, troubleshoot, and share their feelings with a company in real-time as though the brand is a real person. If a business neglects to tell a good story, thereby failing to show its personality and humanity, then it becomes a faceless company that’s more difficult for consumers to feel connected to relative to other brands.
If you’re faced with two options: a data sheet of facts and figures that show the benefits of exercise or a video that shows an individual’s struggles on their exercise journey and the resulting triumph of mind and body after a year of exercise dedication—which one will you remember? Of course it’s the option with a story behind it. Like it or not, we’re all emotional beings and our brains are programmed to remember things that tap into our emotions much more than factual data alone.
Storytelling gives people purpose and a reason to take action. A 2007 study at the Wharton School of Business found that when participants were asked to collect donations in a call center, those who were told how their earnings would improve the lives of others earned more than double the group that didn’t receive that information. That said, if you want to compel action, then you better believe storytelling will help you do it.
Products and services are all designed to solve some sort of problem consumers face. If you present your brand without explaining the problem it solves in a relatable way, it’s a major missed opportunity. Telling a story about how your product or service can help consumers overcome challenges using real-life scenarios and situations will make it easier for them to see how and why it fits into their lives.
Now that you know the value of storytelling, it’s time to learn how to execute it with your presentation. Check out our Catapult training to ensure your next presentation tells a story your audience will remember.
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