If you are looking into starting a business, would you believe me if I tell you to start with a story?
Maybe you won’t and maybe you don’t know how it relates to a business.
We often forget that the very position we are in today lingers around old memories that we tend to talk about with our grandparents over hot chocolate and cookies. These memories are stories told from generation to generation. It’s so prominent that it became something valuable that we cherish until now.
That is the power of a story.
So if a story could bring such a big impact to us, why can’t we use it as a way of triggering our customer’s emotion?
Talk to different marketers out there and they will tell you to invest on a story. Why? Because a story sticks more than the 5-minute powerpoint presentation that you spent the whole night working on yesterday.
Regardless of the medium you are using, whether it’s online or offline, investing your time and energy to tell your own story will help your business grow even more.
Here are five reasons why story telling matters in your business:
1. It enables you to connect with your customers personally
As a business owner, you need to understand that your customers are normal people. They may not come from a business background and they may never understand any of your business lingo.
So the best thing you should do is be normal. Relate to your customers through their emotions and be a friend to them.
Instead of just producing hundreds of leaflets and giving them away to passerby, why not take the time to engage with them? Talk to your customers, get to know them and introduce your products later in the conversation.
Humans are emotional and if you are able to grab their attention, they will listen.
Let’s take the Nike ad (2012) below as an example.
Instead of showcasing their product, the “Find your Greatness” ad above focused more on building a familiar relationship with the audience. The commercial highlighted the possibility of success a person can achieve regardless of how they look like. The message behind this commercial is powerful as it is not only limited to athletes but also applicable to any ordinary person who are eager to achieve something good in their life as well.
The story is purposely created to play around with our emotions and that is how you create a message that leaves an impact on your customers.
2. It acts as a strong marketing strategy
There are certain aspects of story telling that we cannot ignore and one of it is known as the conflict. A conflict in story telling is important as it creates curiosity in your audiences.
When you are able to evoke their curiosity, there is likely a chance for them to convert as one of your prospects.
In this Malaysian Ad for Panadol Actifast, the lead character in the commercial is pictured as a busy restaurant owner. As an audience, we may not understand what the commercial is exactly about until the character voiced out his conflict of “Do you think I have time for headaches?”
This conflict is highlighted in the commercial as it creates curiosity in the audience’s expectation of the story. It provides a time for the audience to think and relate to the brand – Panadol Actifast is indeed the solution to the ongoing headache.
By doing this, the brand did not only addresses a resolution to the problem but they are also attracting people’s attention to their brand.
3. It gives individuality to your business
The words you use can really maximise your presence in the market online.
In an article published on Entrepreneur: Asia Pacific, it was mentioned that individuality is important as it separates you from other brands that prefers to play it safe. Warby Parker, an eyewear brand that was mentioned in the article mentioned above, uses the act of story telling to share with their customers the reason why they got into the business.
Is this necessary? For every right reason, I believe that it is.
We tend to draw a line between our relationship with our customers in order to appear professional. But sometimes we forget that our customers are only human.
Humans may get bored easily. So instead of being in the safe zone all the time, try a different approach and relate to your customers the same way Warby Parker did in their website.
It’s good for your business. It does not hurt to try.
4. Story telling helps establish your business’ capabilities
A good brand will bring in more prospects. But how?
Let’s dive into the success of dUck scarves, a fashion brand originated from Malaysia.
You may not heard of them but if you’re interested in making a name for your business, they’re a good example.
When the brand was launched in 2014, I was amazed by the response it gathered from the public. It may have been due to it luxurious packaging and its range of pop-up and earthy colours but I was more drawn towards the character that was created behind the brand.
The character behind dUck scarves is known as D. No one really knows who she is but she tend to leave out notes and greetings in each of their Instagram posts.
I find this incredibly smart.
We may never know who D is but she was indeed created for a reason.
Her story was created in order to relate to their target audience – people who likes fashion and headscarves. The people behind dUck scarves knew that a good story would bring in more curiosity into the brand and that’s what they did.
By using a character named D in their story, they were able to connect to their audience and convert them into loyal prospects who believes in the brand’s capability of producing more products into the market.
Today, dUck scarves have launched a variety of products ranging from stationeries to cosmetics. That’s how powerful they are at marketing.
5. Everyone is already doing it, when will you?
Let’s face it, the world is full of competitions.
You may come up with a business strategy that was done by hundreds other businessmen before you. But should you give up? Of course no!
Although story telling is a known marketing strategy, it does not mean that it will be the same for every businesses.
You can still be different. You just need to know your business very well. Understand your products and target your audience carefully.
For example, if you are looking into opening a food business on Instagram, you need to take two things into consideration:
- How to take your photos?
- How to create the right content?
This is fairly simple. If you’re new, start your first Instagram post with a good picture of your product. Introduce your product, tell the world about it and avoid jargons. Use simple words and be clear about it. If you’re good with puns, share it out. Don’t be afraid to express yourself, you can even write your content in Malay. Have fun in creating the connection with your audience.
If you are consistent and active on social media, there is likely a chance for your business to be known by many.
Related to this post: 3 creative ways to use storytelling on social media.
The concept of story telling is very universal.
We were brought up with stories. From the compilations of bedtime stories to the good and sad times we’ve encountered in our lives, we tend to remember those that sticks emotionally with us.
That is why story telling matters.
Incorporating stories into your business is nothing new, in fact, it is something that our ancestors may have done many years ago.
However, the difference now is that, we have so many new platforms to share our stories to. This is definitely good for your businesses as it opens a new door for you to reach out to a bigger market.
Start creating your presence online now, you would be surprised how fast it takes for your brand to be known out there.