How Telling Stories Supports Your Business
Everyone seems to be telling stories these days. Stories are a fantastic way to market your business. A good story told well makes a big difference. There is a lot you can do to shape your story, to get your message over.
I am leading a lunch and learn meeting about business story telling, starting next month. If you are in the Sheffield area and can get along to the Village Grill, 344-346 Abbeydale Road at 12.15 on 2nd and 4th Thursdays, you can join a dynamic group of story tellers and business owners.
One thing I shall do is explore how we use stories in all aspects of businesses. Here are five approaches to business story telling.
Your Personal Story
If someone visits your website or hears you speak, they don’t really know you as a person. So, telling a story that speaks about your values, what really matters to you, is an effective way to become known. A powerful personal story speaks on many levels and can help you find people who belong to your tribe.
This is perhaps the most common way business-owners apply story to their business. A problem for some is they have no big story to tell. In truth though, everyone has not one but many stories. The challenge is to find a good story and make it compelling.
These stories work really well at step 4 of the awareness ladder, where your prospects seek more information about you.
Case studies are stories that draw on the experiences of your target audience. They may be stories about your clients or people like your clients. They may be accounts of their work with you as a coach or stories about problems they face. Sometimes case studies can lead to questions: what would you have done under these circumstances?
The purpose of case studies is to show you understand and can solve your clients’ problems. They can be used between steps 3 and 4 of the awareness ladder. Testimonials may be a source in your clients’ own words or you can write a case study with your client. They can also be effective at step 2, where you need to show there are solutions to the problems your audience experiences.
Business Origin Story
This is a story about the origin of a product or service. You may be at the centre of the story and can show how you observed, identified a problem and developed a solution.
These are step 3 stories, where you show how your offer differs from other people’s’.
Many businesses have a cause, where they not only deliver a product or service but use it to change their wider community. This may be a story about a neighbourhood or some issue you know your audience cares about.
This may be a step 1 story, a story that establishes a problem exists.
Your Marketing Plan
If your marketing plan is a story, everything you do is part of that single coherent story. The story needs to be in all aspects of your business, its design, website, logo, advertising, packaging. Everything points to the central story that makes your business stand out.
The aim is to build a business that stands out in people’s’ minds, so that they remember you and can find you again.
Telling stories and so making business can be a challenge, if you are to present a coherent narrative to the world. We can all benefit from spending time together, working on our stories and as we explore each of these types, build a lively approach to business story telling.
So, please let me know if you can think of other story types businesses can use. And if you can, come along to “Telling Stories: Making Business” and join in the debate!