Long before business storytelling became a thing, humans used verbal stories to make sense of the surrounding world. Stories elicit emotions and help us comprehend meanings and processes. Thus, storytelling is an essential skill that can impact the way we perceive things and gauge their importance.
For businesses, storytelling is a powerful tool that can be used to create an emotional connection with customers while providing them with valuable information. Business storytelling helps a business convey its goals, values, and mission in such a way that it appeals to the customer’s heart and mind.
Storytelling can help you engage your audience by creating strong emotions, promoting customer loyalty, and affirming your brand. Dry marketing messages that lack a personal touch and state generic and slogan-like information no longer cut it.
In this article, we will explain the basics of business storytelling, the key elements and steps to achieve a successful brand story, as well as give a few examples that illustrate best storytelling practices.
What Is Business Storytelling?
Business storytelling is the art of communicating a brand’s message in an engaging and meaningful way. Business stories are crafted to reflect the company’s core values, mission, and objectives. They should also be tailored to an audience’s needs and interests.
Storytelling allows businesses to stand out from the competition by creating memorable experiences for customers that they can connect with. It encourages customers to stay engaged, as well as make an emotional connection with the brand.
6 Key Elements of Good Business Storytelling
Although humans are hardwired for storytelling, when it comes to business and getting the attention of your target audience, there are certain elements that need to be present:
- Has A Clear Purpose
- Based On Solid Data
- Should Be Concise
- Make It Engaging
- Should Be Memorable
- Don’t Forget Authenticity
Has A Clear Purpose
The purpose of business storytelling should be clear from the outset. Whether you’re trying to sell a product, pitch an idea, or simply communicate your company’s values, your story should have a specific goal that you’re hoping to achieve. Without a clear purpose, your story will likely meander and fail to engage your audience.
Based On Solid Data
Before you sit down to write your business story, it’s important to do your research. This means learning about your audience, understanding what they want to hear, and gathering any relevant data or statistics that will help to make your case. Without proper research, your story is likely to fall flat.
Should Be Concise
When it comes to business storytelling, less is often more. Your audience doesn’t want to hear a long-winded tale; they want a concise story that gets straight to the point. Keep your story focused and avoid digressions or tangents that will lose your listener’s attention.
Make It Engaging
In order for your business story to be successful, it needs to be engaging. This means using descriptive language, crafting characters that your audience can relate to, and using emotion to connect with your listeners on a personal level. If your story is dull or unengaging, it’s unlikely to achieve its desired effect.
Should Be Memorable
A good business story should be memorable. This means choosing a strong central idea or theme and using vivid language and imagery to bring it to life. If your story is forgettable, it’s unlikely to have the impact you’re hoping for.
Don’t Forget Authenticity
Finally, it’s important to remember that your storytelling should be authentic. Don’t get caught up in trying to craft the “perfect” story; focus on conveying your message in a genuine and relatable way. If you try too hard to be something that you’re not, your audience will likely sense it and tune out. For example, demonstrate what it takes to produce your product; show the day-to-day struggles of your team to deliver what the customers want.
How To Build The Perfect Brand Story
Now that we know what the features of a great business story are, let’s now go through the steps to build an effective business narrative that inspires and builds trust.
- Start with a Brand Strategy
- Treat It As A Personal Story Rather Than A Marketing Material
- Use A Simple Structure
- Focus On Details And Emotion
- Get Customers Involved
- Keep It Short And Sweet
1. Start with a Brand Strategy
The first step in creating your brand story is to define your overall brand strategy. Your brand strategy should include a clear mission and vision statement, an understanding of who your target audience is, and what makes you stand out from the competition. All of these elements will inform the content of your story and help to ensure that it is tailored to the needs of your target audience.
2. Treat It As A Personal Story
The best business stories are told in a personal way, rather than simply using it as a marketing tool. Think about how you can incorporate elements of your own experience into the story to make it more engaging and relatable. Doing this will help you to build trust with your audience, which is essential for any successful brand.
3. Use A Simple Structure
Good business stories should follow a simple structure that is easy to understand. Make sure that your story has a clear beginning, middle, and end so that it flows naturally and doesn’t feel disjointed. You may want to consider using the classic narrative structure of “problem-solution”, which can help to engage your audience and keep them invested in your story.
4. Focus On Details And Emotion
When you’re writing your business story, don’t be afraid to focus on details and emotion. Painting a vivid picture with your words can help to make the story more engaging and memorable, so don’t be afraid to get creative! Additionally, using emotional language such as metaphors and analogies can help to bring the story to life.
5. Get Customers Involved
After all, your business exists to serve your customers. So, what better way to tell your business story than letting them share their own? Consider setting up an online customer story section on your website and encouraging customers to share their experiences with you. This will not only make them feel appreciated, but it will also help to show potential customers the value that you offer.
6. Keep It Short And Sweet
Finally, remember to keep your business story short and sweet. Nobody wants a long-winded tale, so focus on the key points that you want to get across and make sure that your story is concise and easy to follow. By all means, tell your full business story on the company website – this will show you are credible and transparent about your ways.
3 Examples of Fascinating Business Storytelling
Coca Cola’s recent augmented reality video campaign is a great example of how to use storytelling to engage your audience. The video was designed to give viewers an immersive experience, taking them on a journey through the creation of their AR characters, all the way through to the implementation of AR when a customer points their phone at a canned coke.
The video does a great job of showcasing the company’s technology, as well as their commitment to using AR for customer engagement.
Spotify is another great example of how to use data storytelling to engage customers. The music-streaming giant has worked hard to create an emotionally engaging narrative around its vast library of music. By creating visualizations, interactive stories and data-driven insights, Spotify shows its users its appreciation by letting their favourite artists share a personal message with them.
Airbnb is another great example of how powerful storytelling can be in engaging customers. The company has created a platform called ‘Stories by Airbnb’, which allows people to share their own experiences of traveling with the company. By allowing users to tell their own stories in a simple and engaging way, Airbnb has been able to build an emotional connection between its customers and the brand.
Not only this, but the platform also allows potential customers to get a better understanding of what it’s like to stay with Airbnb. This helps customers to make a more informed decision about whether the company is right for them.
Business storytelling is an important way to connect with your audience and build trust. Remember, a good business story has a clear purpose, is based on data, engaging, memorable, and is authentic. You can perfect your brand story by starting with a strategy, making it personal, using a simple structure focusing on emotion and details, involving customers, and keeping it short.
Looking for inspiration? Check out how CocaCola, Spotify and Airbnb use brand narratives in their businesses. When you tell stories as part of your branding efforts, you set yourself apart from the competition and give potential customers something to remember you by – not just another sales pitch.