Storytelling for Business: How to Use It to Best Communicate With Your AudienceReading time 8min
In today's day and age, it’s simply not enough to have an amazing product or an outstanding service. With competition growing fiercer every day, marketers need to find smart ways to stand out from the crowd.
You need to take one step further if you want to connect with your audience in more meaningful ways. And the best way to do so is (you guessed it) by telling stories.
Today, we’ll go over what business storytelling is and how you can make use of this powerful marketing strategy to convey your services in ways that truly matter to your customers.
What Is Business Storytelling?
First things first: let’s define what storytelling for business is so that you understand what it means and how to apply this to your everyday marketing efforts.
Business storytelling is nothing more than the art of sharing your company’s stories.
And this means essentially sharing information about your brand or services via engaging stories, as opposed to simply listing facts and information in a more mundane manner.
And don’t be fooled, this is not a digital marketing trend, but a well-known trick that has been growing stronger every day, with more and more business storytelling books being published faster than you can say “once upon a time” (more on books about storytelling for business further below).
Storytelling is common among those professionals who work in the marketing or communications industries. It has quickly become a popular buzzword that expert markets are well too familiar with.
Why Is Storytelling Good for Business?
Storytelling can be very powerful because it forges an emotional bond between a business, its goods, and its clients. And stories for business are not only incredibly popular to grasp your audience’s attention, but they also stay in their minds longer.
As Maya Angelou famously quoted, “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”
And you can easily boost your audience's engagement with your brand by telling effective stories, which in turn can promote conversions and, eventually, revenue growth (let’s be real, that’s your main goal as a marketer, after all).
- Is more compelling than numbers
- Engages your audience and creates loyalty
- Humanizes your company
- Offers a competitive advantage
- Makes engaging marketing campaigns
Let’s go over in detail the main reasons why you should be investing your time into telling more engaging stories.
1. Stories Are More Compelling Than Numbers
Although statistics are important, they don’t create a lasting impact on your audience’s mind. Plus, listening to a bunch of numbers about a given company is not the most exciting topic for anyone (except maybe the CEO and other decision-makers).
Just put yourself in the audience's position. Would you want to watch someone lecture you about numbers and data? We guess you’re yawning just thinking about it.
That’s where storytelling for business comes in. According to a study, stories engage our brains much more than just facts. That’s because only the language regions of our brains are engaged when we read data (the human brain reacts to visuals 60 times faster than words do).
However, when we read stories, every area of the brain is activated (as if we were experiencing the story ourselves). Cool, right?
What does this mean to you, then?
It implies that, rather than cold, hard facts, we're more prone to recall stories. Instead of running the risk of losing their attention when buried in analytics, a clear beginning and end help keep your audience engaged throughout (even if you’re sneakingly only talking about statistics about your company).
2. Stories Engage Your Audience and Create Loyalty
You probably have some sort of backstory about your company or professional experience. Use that to provide listeners with some background. If the idea was developed to address a problem, describe how it solved the issue for you.
By using real-life examples, you instantly make the stories more relatable to your audience.
This kind of storytelling makes it easier for audiences to engage and develop trust in you. And if the story is relatable, it becomes more memorable. You instantly become trustworthy when you come across as human.
The audience won't forget your brand as quickly if they can identify with the “character” in your story or understand how it connects to them.
Steve Jobs was a master storyteller. Just look at how he famously introduced the iPhone back in 2007. All he needed to do was to touch upon one crucial aspect of his audience’s pain points.
He told the story of how irritating it can be to carry separate devices to listen to music, make phone calls, and take pictures, and casually brought up how the iPhone had it all.
This is an example of a real-life situation that people faced (and that Apple had the answer to).
3. It Humanizes Your Brand
Gone are the days when big brands had to follow set-in-stone rules, afraid of stepping outside the box with the fear of being seen as unprofessional. In fact, today's consumers prefer brands that don’t take themselves too seriously.
In the era of social media where even celebrities appear on Instagram stories without any makeup (i.e. humanizing them and showing the behind-the-scenes of their lives), being authentic is a way to humanize a person or brand, bringing your audience closer to you.
This is to say, you should aim to avoid being faceless and distant from your target audience. Instead, demonstrate your personality and humanity via engaging stories.
4. Business Storytelling Offers You a Competitive Advantage
In a world where “content is king”, every organization is creating and distributing content to reach its audience in different ways. From blog posts to videos and podcasts, the competition to stay relevant is fierce. But this can soon become overwhelming.
Telling compelling stories is a fantastic way to differentiate yourself from the competition and build a strong brand. That’s because decision-making is actually more emotional than it is logical.
So, by telling an interesting story, you can influence your audience’s decisions in your favor, offering you a competitive advantage over your competition.
How to Use Storytelling in Marketing
Now that we know the seemingly endless benefits of using storytelling to create more powerful and impacting marketing campaigns, let’s understand how you can best make use of this marketing trick.
Knowing these small storytelling tips will set up for Master Storyteller success.
Determine Your Audience
The first step in business storytelling is figuring out who you are telling your story to. You should also decide on the story's purpose or objective at this point.
- Are you attempting to sell something?
- Do you want to introduce customers to your brand?
- Who are the people most likely to be interested in your brand?
Think about these questions when trying to sell a product or raise brand awareness.
If you’re still unsure about the answers to those questions, conducting market research will help reveal who your target audience is.
And before ever coming up with your story, try to develop a client persona to help you understand your client demographics.
Optimize Your Message
Once you've identified your target audience, think about the message you want to convey to them. You might draw attention to a concern shared by many of your clients.
Pick a Hero
Every compelling story has a hero.
This is the someone or something that is put forth to address the issue. But for successful storytelling that actually connects with your audience, you should aim to make the hero relatable to the reader.
Think of this person as the link between your brand's customers and itself. Create heroes so that they accurately reflect the requirements, wants, and most frequent issues of your clients. The goal here is for your target customer to identify with this individual.
Additionally, every story contains a struggle and a solution. And a good way to establish a personal connection with your audience is by placing your hero in a conflict that is shared by all of your customers.
Write Your Story
Once the details of your story have been determined, it’s time to write it.
You may write a draft version and then revise it to make it more understandable. You might also contact a copywriter to develop your story in the tone and voice of your company.
Write the conclusion to the story centered on your product or service. Potential clients can then picture how your company's goods or services can benefit them.
Tips for Writing an Unforgettable Story
1. Keep things simple
2. Practice makes perfect
3. Make it fun
4. Add value
5 Best Storytelling for Business Books
Are you looking to dive even further into the art of storytelling for business? We salute you.
Digital marketing books are a great way to improve your skills as a marketer. Before, you’ll find below our top 5 business storytelling books to help you become a true storytelling master for your next marketing campaigns.
1. Unleash the Power of Storytelling
Unleash the Power of Storytelling offers step-by-step instructions for finding, shaping, and telling powerful stories. Learn all the essential ingredients that go into any good story and how to avoid common storytelling pitfalls.
This book cuts through the hype to clarify and demystify the storytelling process.
2. Talk Like Ted
Who doesn't love a TED talk? TED speakers have the capacity to instantly engage us. Be it with their funny ways of expressing themselves, their body language, or inspiring stories of how they overcame relatable obstacles, we could listen to these narratives for hours upon end.
‘Talk Like Ted’ is a powerful guide to public speaking, based on scientific analysis of hundreds of TED presentations and interviews with TED speakers.
3. Sell With a Story
This fantastic book shows how, through storytelling, a salesperson can explain products or services in ways that resonate and connect people to the mission, and help determine what decisions are made.
4. Whoever Tells The Best Story Wins
With this storytelling book, you’ll discover how the right story told at the right time has the power to persuade, promote empathy, and provoke action.
5. Business Storytelling for Dummies
We bet you’ve heard about the ‘for Dummies’ series before, and of course, business storytelling couldn’t be left out of it. This book works like a cheat sheet, outlining a variety of different ways to approach storytelling in your business.
Make Business Storytelling a Key Strategy in 2023
Business storytelling has been used for years to better attract and captivate your target audiences. From Apple to Nike, we see how the power of storytelling can be the differentiator between a company and a brand.
We hope that this article will help you share your organization’s story, which will in turn create positive brand affinity.