Why Every Business Should Become A Storyteller
“Stories are a communal currency of humanity.” (… I wish I said that first.)
This beautifully crafted statement from the entertaining travel book, In Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams, by Tahir Shah, perfectly summarizes the importance of storytelling.
Storytelling is an important tool that provides meaning, purpose, and understanding to our lives. It provides an easy process for people to connect and relate to each other. And just like people, your business should also share its own story.
You may have heard stories about the large tech company that started in a garage in California (Apple). Or the one about the pizza company that was started in the broom closet of a tavern (Papa John’s – now I’m hungry!). Whatever stage your business is at, it’s important for your company to know how to tell its story.
Storytelling Is An Art Form
Why was your company founded? What was the spark of inspiration that led to starting your brand? Or simply, what does your company do?
Answering these questions can be difficult if they haven’t been rehearsed – not everyone can tell a story like Scorsese or Tarantino. Stories that are long, or too technical, or even boring can ruin opportunities for small business owners looking for new partnerships, selling products, or providing services.
But while storytelling is certainly an art, it’s also a skill that can easily be developed!
5 Ways To Make Your Brand Story Unforgettable
1. K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Storyteller)
As a proud and enthusiastic small business owner, it can be easy to share every detail about the creation of your company. However, to keep the interest of your listener, your story must be easy to understand. There’s a reason the acronym, TMI, exists… (TMI = too much information, FYI 😉)
“Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest.”
— Leo Babauta
Take some time to make sure your brand story is short and informative. As we all (probably) know by now, the average human attention span has shortened significantly, so try to fit your story into 2 minutes or less!
2. Speak The Truth
Honesty is always the best policy, even in business. Consumers and followers of your brand will know when your business isn’t being truthful (#AlternativeFacts), and will either call out your inconsistencies or worse, disconnect themselves from your company completely.
Now on the other side, if your brand is honest and truthful, even to the point of admitting when the company is at fault, you’ll experience a level of support and devotion that is unmatched!
Remember when Taylor Swift called out Apple for not paying royalties to artists during the launch of Apple Music? Well after her message, Apple recognized its error and completely reversed it’s policies, providing a winning situation for everyone involved – Apple, Taylor Swift and fellow music artists, and consumers!
So when crafting your brand story, make sure to stay true to your journey. While you certainly want to feature your brand’s successes, don’t be afraid to include the struggles and even the failures. These moments will provide a genuine quality to your story.
“It’s very important that we tell the truth. Don’t tell everything you know, but do tell the truth.”
— Dr. Maya Angelou
“I like the stories that leave you wanting more, leave you wondering, but don’t tell you everything.”
— Viggo Mortensen
3. Start The Conversation
Just like any great performance (or meal, I’m seriously so hungry), you should leave your audience wanting more, not feeling like they’ve had too much.
Towards the end of your brand story, be sure to keep the conversation going! You can inspire interaction with your audience by:
Leaving Something Out – ending your business journey with an unresolved event can inspire your audience to ask questions about what happened next.
Give It A Twist – who doesn’t love a surprise?! If the history of your business includes an interesting change of direction, you may want to include it in to your brand story as an added level of excitement!
Look Into The Future – sharing the future plans of your business can open the door for discussion by allowing the audience to share their insight and experience.
4. Practice, Practice, Practice
Now that you have your story outlined and refined, it’s time to make it shine! The way you communicate your story can greatly change the experience of the listener. Things like tone, body language, and facial expressions are key areas that will help you deliver your brand story properly.
TIME TO GET WEIRD…
This may feel awkward, but I suggest you take two simple steps before delivering your brand story.
Recite your brand story in front of a mirror to yourself.
Recite your brand story in front of your significant other or a small group of colleagues (3 people or less).
The first step will help you feel CONFIDENT, while the second step will help you feel COMFORTABLE with your delivery. Try reciting your story in different ways, perhaps faster, then slower, or bubbly, then relaxed. Maybe play with adding some humor or drama to your storyline.
By practicing these different styles, you will find the perfect flow to your brand story!
5. Have Fun
Now that you have crafted a perfect brand story, the last step is to have some fun telling your story!
Go to networking events. Visit the businesses in your local area. Or maybe create a new video featuring your brand story that you can share on your website and social media channels.
Also, be sure to share this story with all your team members, and help them perfect the delivery as well.
I hope you find these 5 topics helpful and useful the next time you share your brand story.
Got a free minute? Take a second to share how your team has implemented storytelling into your small business marketing strategy by leaving a comment below!
To Small Business Owners: People Don’t Buy Products…They Buy Brands, by Krystal Glass
Why Every Organization Needs A Story Strategy, by Kathy Klotz-Guest of Keeping It Human
How to Tell Your Small-Business Story, by Daniel Newman of Broadsuite (Contributor to Entrepreneur)
11 Powerful Ways to Tell Your Story, by Bruna Martinuzzi of Clarion Enterprises Ltd. (Contributor to American Express)
Small Business Marketing Ideas: 4 Stories to Tell About Your Business, by Amy Copperman and Amy Copperman of Adobe