People are at the heart of our businesses and communities, and as people, story is an essential part of our emotional and psychological hardwiring. It helps us make sense of the world, connect, and come to a deeper understanding of one another.
But what does story have to do with business and marketing? In researching that answer, I discovered Bernadette Jiwa and The Story of Telling. As I was learning about the small details in crafting a story, she really helped me look at the big picture of how story creates and impacts brands. Story really is the brand. To her:
"Brand is the meaning the customer attaches to a product or services from what she perceives."
What she is saying is this:
Product - Meaning = Commodity
Product + Meaning = Brand
Meaning comes through in the story we want to tell, and the experiences that are in line with that story that help cement belief in the story you are creating.
Marketing through story has become important to me, not only because I am a storyteller, but because it is simply a more humanizing way for businesses to communicate with consumers, where interactions do not "feel like marketing."
What happens when you begin to share your story is that marketing becomes about giving your customers a reason to care and connect, rather than demanding something from them and interrupting their lives.
When I started Little Bird, I really wanted to step away from traditional forms of marketing and sales, not that they don't have a place, but that I didn't want to spend my energy trying to convince people to invest in something they didn't value. Neither did I want to just be another videographer or filmmaker. I wanted to bring value and meaning to people's lives, which I believe crafting business films and telling stories do.
What I have learned is that moving our businesses from a commodity to a brand people can care about, or believe in, is going to be through story, providing meaning to your product, and value to your audience.
How are you creating meaning and value?