The Power of Story in Your Marketing

Stories are a vital element for successfully communicating a sustainable message to your markets – especially on this social Web. 

Storytelling - JeffKorhan.com
Regardless of the type of small business you operate, you are dealing with people – and people love stories.  Stories make us laugh; they make us think; and they sometimes make us cry.  All of this helps us to understand.  And these are just a few reason why stories are excellent means of delivering a message that connects with your prospects and customers.

Here are some of my ideas on why stories are essential to conveying your business message.

Stories Capture Attention

When you are communicating a business message, stories serve to inject some energy into it.  The nature of stories is that there is a progression through time – a sequence of events.  This captures peoples attention. As a professional speaker, I find stories are invaluable for accomplishing this objective, especially during those first few critical minutes of a presentation.

If you are a marketing or a sales professional, you should have a catalog of stories that pull your prospects or customers into your world.  Facts and figures may indicate the superiority of your product or service, but unless you can embed them into a story, they will be lost on many of us who have been conditioned to ignore that data unless you can make it come alive by validating with real, live examples that prove that validity.

Stories are Memorable

One of the secrets of any kind of marketing is having it endure for an extended period of time.  If you are lucky, your story can go viral on the social networks.  If you are using your key words in the titles of your blog posts, your videos, or in the body of your stories, then your marketing message can live to be retold again and again through your stories.

A good story is memorable. And if it has a purpose, your business message becomes memorable.  I have previously shared a formula for storytelling that I use when using stories in my presentations or blog posts.  Here's the formula:  Somebody…does something…and it works out.  Human beings love to see others succeed.  Tell us a good story and we'll understand how.

Stories are Relatable

My favorite reason for using stories is that they are relatable.  I am convinced that the most important reason for using stories in a business context is to help people see themselves succeeding with your product or service, just as the the main character in your story did.  This is the power of stories – making that all-important emotional connection.

We are surrounded with stories.  Today Phil Mickelson won the Masters, and there is the prominent story that involves his challenging year with his wife battling breast cancer.  That's one story that we can all probably understand, but not nearly as much as if we have experienced something of that nature.

However, there is another story from the 2010 Masters Tournament that anyone who has played golf and missed a putt through no fault of their own can relate to.  Early in the final round, just as Phil was taking his putter back on a makeable putt – without notice, a tiny seed pod from one of the nearby pine trees dropped out of the sky and fell straight into the path of his ball – thereby causing it to miss the cup. Ouch!

Being the champion he is, he smiled, gracefully accepted the potential message from the 'golf gods,' and continued on.  That's the kind of drama that is both memorable and relatable!

Stories are Pieces of Life

I am sure there are many books that have been written about storytelling.  One that I just finished, and that I found particularly valuable as a professional speaker, is Change Your Speech, Change the World, by Nick Morgan.  One that I haven't read, that was actually the inspiration for this post is A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, by Donald Miller, that my friend Chris Brogan recently commented on.  

Whether you are using traditional marketing or the social networks, you are communicating with other human beings who have aspirations like you, and who experience many of the same challenges and successes as you. 

Stories are tiny pieces of something we all share – life experiences.

Telling a story may be the quintessential means for humanizing your marketing.

And that dramatically enhances your effectiveness for serving your customers. 

Photo Credit:  Fairfax County Public Library

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Comments

  1. Good post, If you get time, check out the book Influencer- the power to change anything!
    The book backs up what you’re saying
    about the power of stories. The african guinea worm story and the chauvanistic husband (radio) stories are unforgettable.
    Steven Covey rated it an instant classic. Excellent read.

  2. Steve – It’s on my list. Influence was just handed to by a friend. The ideas I shared here were just my own from wherever I got them. So, now you’ve piqued my interest in learning more!

    Jeff

  3. Great information i like your blog alot…..

  4. Thank you. I appreciate your saying so. Stick around – it’s only going to get better!

    Jeff