Because story has become an overused buzzword in marketing today, I want to define what story is and share with you the five reasons why it matters to your business or non-profit. Buzzword or not, story isn’t going anywhere because “all markets, industries, tribes, leaders, and individuals tell stories one way or another. It’s how we connect, cooperate, and sell. “Everything—faith, science, love—needs a story for people to find it plausible. No story, no sale.” Story has become so invaluable that Seth Godin wrote that “Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, but about the stories you tell.” His book “All Marketers are Liars/Storytellers” is a good read if you want to dig deeper. But what do we mean by story, especially when we are talking about marketing, sales, and our businesses?
Hubspot defined story as “the process of using fact and narrative to communicate something to your audience. Some stories are factual, and some are embellished or improvised in order to better explain the core message.” What’s important to your business or organization is that stories “solidify abstract concepts and simplify complex messages.”
I’ll breakdown the different pillars of good storytelling in another article, but this graphic will help you see the difference between storytelling and advertising:
Here are the top five reasons why storytelling matters to your business or non-profit: Stories Transportation us We’ve all experienced the sensation when reading a book, listening to someone, or watching a film, where we lose awareness of our surroundings and are completely engaged with that story. This is important in your marketing content because the more a person is transported into your story, the more likely they are to take on the beliefs and actions in that story. They are more open to your message and changing their minds. “By allowing the viewer to experience a product or services through story, we empower them to take ownership and make a purchasing decision they believe in” (Muse Storytelling). Stories move us and help us empathize Once a story has our attention, we begin to emotionally resonate with the characters. More than that, the mirror neurons in our brain light up and we begin to experience the story as if it is happening to us, and we internalize the goals of the characters. “So say you're trying to get people to donate to your cause or download your app. If they experience strong character identification and the character in the story liked your nonprofit or business, then the audience member will too.” For non-profits specifically, stories “connect donors to the beneficiaries that are benefiting from their contribution while showcasing the pressing need for your work.” Stories can help us make a decision Emotions are important in helping us make decisions, and drive much of our decision making. This means that if you want to persuade someone about your products or services, don’t push facts and features, use a story that will move them emotionally, allowing them to come to their own conclusions and create a lasting connection. Stories allow us to be witnesses This is really powerful, especially for video marketing. I can’t say it any better than Patrick Moreau, from Stillmotion: “Rather than presenting facts or features that tell us how to think, feel, or do, story allows us to observe the happenings and come to our own conclusions. And when we’re presented with the pieces that lead us to the conclusion, rather than simply being forced upon us, we take it in that much more deeply.” Stories build trust and authenticity. I have trust and authenticity at #1 because this is not only what we desire as human beings, but what will ultimately help to grow your business. Bernadette Jiwa wrote: “Customers don’t demonstrate loyalty to commodities, but they fall in love with a brand...[and] stories are how we attach meaning and significance to anything, including businesses.” By using story to help you customers relate to your solution, understand your products and services, and come to their own conclusions, you’re cultivating authenticity and trust. In the long-term, that will help your business or organization succeed. If this resonates with you, connect with us and let’s inspire action together.