Your Friday Inspiration

Once a upon a time, in a far off land
As  children we all became familiar with this phrase when it came to our bedtime stories. We would lie there and fall asleep and dream of far off lands filled with giants , unicorns and magic. Through the art of storytelling we learned valuable life lessons. E.G Belling the Cat: Execution Is More Important than Ideas, something our founder Ian Bergin spoke about in a recent blog.

Telling stories has been a timeless skill and an essential driver of change throughout human history for both good and bad. Great stories surprise. They draw us in. They have fascinating characters. They make think, make us feel. Great stories stick in our minds and help us remember ideas and concepts in a way that balance sheets or text on slides never will.

I truly believe that this is only reason that Kickstarter and Indiegogo have become so successful. The thousands of creators who use these platforms have been able to rally the support of millions by being able to get their stories in front of people. These platforms just don't allow creators to tell there stories but they actually demand it. Every project has to have a video where the creators explain what they are doing, why they are doing it and why they need your help.

Unfortunately in an era of status updates, tweets and snaps many of us have forgotten how to tell a good story. However, it is these same omnipresent sharing platforms that has transformed our lives. That have made the skill of storytelling to become uniquely essential again. As we spend  up to 3 hours a day consuming content across these platforms, storytelling is a skill not only every individual will need to master but every business too.
'78% of of CMO's think content is the future of marketing' Hanley Wood 2013
The same research also showed that two thirds of marketers believe that branded content is superior to traditional forms of marketing. That's massive.

Perhaps this largely due to how social media has allowed us to become comfortable with talking directly to the companies we buy from. Business's are genuinely excited about putting their content in your Facebook feeds next to pictures of our friends and family. But as more companies begin to spew their content into every orifice of the internet  truly successful marketers will be the ones who can craft compelling stories.

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The truth is in the end  no one gives a shit about your marketing goals or product roadmap. But everyone likes a good story and those that can tell one will have an increasing advantage. With stories what you say is often moot compared to how you say it. Taking this point lets look at how we can use stories to improve how we engage with our customers.

In a blog post for  Constant Contact Marisa Donelan tells us that there is one thing your business has that is unique, which will always set them apart from your competition.  Your competition can never take it from you and you will always be an expert on the subject. Your business story.  Throughout the rest of her post Marisa sets out a series of ideas for how you can create customer connections through storytelling.

Similarly Corey Pemberton states that storytelling is a weapon that every business has in their arsenal that can help them level the playing field and stand out from their competitors regardless of their size. In his post 5 ways to captivate customers with storytelling for duct tape marketing, Corey shows us that every time you start you tell your story you should start with the end in mind. Understanding where you’re going, hones your focus; it keeps you from rambling and losing valuable attention.

Helen Nesterenko founder and CEO of reminds in in her article that people have been telling stories since we could draw on cave walls. Bedtime stories, grand odysseys, tall tales, epic adventures, tragedies, romances, comedies - these are how we understand one another, how we bond with each other.
When told correctly stories build connections between you and your prospects - emotional connections that keep them coming back to you. Through the art of storytelling we can win our customers hearts. In order to do this we have to know what makes a good story. Then refine them and know when to use them in right place to build connections with our customers. In her article Helen shows how to do just that.

As technology increasingly intertwines us all, those who can tell a good story will rule the world. It will be our job as businesses to make sure the good guys are the ones telling the best stories.  Like every other skill we are going to need to practice it.

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