The most compelling communications tool and an effortless way to convey intention, meaning, information, and emotion are through telling a story. Sure, you need a business plan, you need to work out the legal issues, and you need to do your market research, but if you haven’t got a story, you are not much likely to succeed. Eventually, you want to sell your product, but instead of hitting your customers over the head with your sales pitch, take a different way. Tell them why you are doing what you are doing, what your mission and vision are, and what you hope to accomplish with your brand.

When you are telling the story of your still very young brand, don’t make the mistake of only showing your ups and hiding your downs. Emotions are what resonates with people, what makes you relatable and sets you apart from the big, anonymous companies. By sweeping your troubles under the rug, you are robbing yourself of authenticity and likeability, so be honest about what’s going on with you, even if it is not all smooth sailing.

Good stories can resonate for generations, cross cultures and take us into imaginary worlds. Stories are an essential component of our lives. That is why corporate storytelling is so vast and valuable. Moreover, why the art of storytelling marketing has almost taken on some magical, mystical persona. Quite merely, successful brands know what corporate storytelling can do for their bottom line. They are aware of what a good story can bring to a business. They do it well and, consequently, every company now wants a piece of the action, they all want to ‘tell a story.’

Before convincing your customers to buy your idea, you will need to convince the rest of your organization to buy in. Connecting with your audience is as simple (and as complicated) as telling them a story. People remember how you make them feel, not the information you give them. As an entrepreneur, it is your responsibility to change how people see the world and make them believe in your vision. For that to happen, you need them to remember you, and you need to be able to change their emotional state. Here are some of the practical tips on how you can sell your brand and vision through the storytelling.

 

Point, Story, Metaphor

To help you become more influential, here is my Point, Story, Metaphor formula. Let `s walk through examples of one of my messages here so you can see it in action.

The Point is simple: Just directly state your lesson. For example, I always tell people, “Leadership is always the problem and leadership is always the solution.” Your Point should be direct and straightforward, just like that.

The Story comes next. The Story needs to show the negative outcomes of not following the Point and then show the positive result of supporting it. For example, I always follow up the Point above with the story of my own leadership crisis.

That leads us to the Metaphor. The Metaphor needs to demonstrate the Point once again but from a different angle. For example, the leadership metaphor I always use is the difference between a lousy military general and a good one.

An excellent general will make a firm decision, deliver it clearly to his troops and speak with confidence, so the soldiers will believe they’re on the path to victory. A lousy general will go back and forth on his decisions, look to his troops for validation and leave everybody feeling panicked because he or she feels like nobody is really in charge.

You can plug any message into the Point, Story, Metaphor formula. If it looks repetitive to you, that’s the point. It is designed not just to deliver information, but also make the listener feel confident about implementing that information themselves.

 

Why do you need stories at every level?

As an entrepreneur, you have to use the Point, Story, Metaphor formula to trade your product to your market. That shouldn’t surprise you: Practically all established selling systems are based on the Point, Story, Metaphor formula or some similar one.

There is also another place to use this formula: you should use it during your hiring and training processes to attract and keep the best talents for your team. You don’t need “employees” who only show up for the paycheck, do the simple minimum, come late and leave early. Instead, you want impact-driven team members who have an entrepreneurial mindset and continuously work to deliver higher results to your customers. Frankly, such people are rare and hard to find, but you should make sure you attract them to your business by telling a compelling story about why your company is different. These high-performing people will work for a business with strong values and a strong message – just like they have in their lives. Additionally, having a strong brand story will help you to differentiate yourself from other businesses that offer a similar product or service.

 

Using storytelling across your brand marketing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Storytelling is not restricted to one channel: a video production or a one-off event. It should be integrated across all your marketing material.

These days when we think of corporate stories, we often think of the video marketing. Visual messages are often more impactful than written ones. With the growth of YouTube and the SEO benefits of video. They are very shareable, so they stand a solid chance of going viral. It’s easy to see why videos are a must-have in any marketing arsenal.

However, before you press the record button, there is something you should know. While you can indeed create a story in a video in the traditional sense, it is worth stressing that, for most businesses, videos are used to enhance a corporate story. The video alone is just one element. It can’t be relied upon to tell an entire story. The rest of the marketing strategy must be set up and working properly for videos to achieve any goals.

 

“But I don’t have a story; what do I do?”

Yes, you do. Here is all you need to do to discover your story: First, ask yourself why you chose to be an entrepreneur. You had many other options besides starting your business. Plenty of those options would have come with less anxiety and stress. Why did you choose this field? When you have that answer, ask yourself again and again. Keep asking yourself why and writing down your answers. When you’re somewhere between five and ten answers, you will have your story.

Here is the amazing thing: No matter how weird or different you think your story is, you will start discovering people all over who identify with it once you start sharing it. Moreover, as you attract those people to become your customers, team members, and your business partners, you will build the foundation of a real business empire.

 

What does a brand need to do corporate storytelling well?

From a company’s vision to its morals, storytelling is vital for conveying a variety of messages and themes, consciously or sub-consciously. Concerning the message that needs to be communicated, to master corporate storytelling, I would suggest that a message must meet six criteria to create your own winning corporate story easily:

 

  1. Find your magic slice

You need to find that common point of what you want to say and what your customers want to hear. That is what is called the Magic Slice, and it will be your key to success. Once you have found it, the communication between your customers and you will be on point, useful and constructive. It should go without saying, but through your story, there must be an underlying need for the product or service that you are ultimately offering.

  1. Create a manifesto

At the beginning of your entrepreneurial career, take a few hours to think about what you want your company to achieve ultimately. What is your mission, your purpose, the reason your company exists? Take notes; this will become the foundation of your story.

To find out your values, try this: if you had to employ someone tomorrow, what would your perfect candidates be like? Describe them, and now you have your values. They are like the mortar that keeps your business whole and connects the different building blocks.

Corporate storytelling has to be exciting and contain your values. There are no two ways about it. To be precise, besides being interesting your story has to be attractive to the right people – your target audience.

  1. Keep it short and sweet

It can be very tempting when you know a lot about an issue to overwhelm your customer with technical terms. Try taking it easy; use simple language, keep the sentences reasonably short and focus on making your brand accessible.

In the end, you strive towards engaging with your audience, and that’s a lot easier when you state your points clearly. A corporate story must be pure in nature. You can’t risk the loss of meaning, so stick to an easy message to deliver.

  1. Embrace the storyteller within the story context

All people are naturals at storytelling, but the majority of us leaves stories at the door when they go to work. Sure, you can produce sales by keeping your website minimalistic and by describing your products only, but it is not very appealing, is it? Why not embrace the storyteller within? Let your customers know why you are selling your product, what makes it so unique, how it came to be and who built it.

Use the information you have about your customers, products and liven up the story of your brand. Your target audience should be able to correlate to the message for it to evoke the emotions needed to fasten a sale. With storytelling, it is their story, not yours.

Create different stories for different audiences. Just as stories develop through the years, so should yours. For those brands which have several different target audiences, there is space to create specific stories for each demographic. As your brand develops, grows and changes, your core story will too.

  1. Consistency is key

We have established the importance of your brand story, and the only thing left to do is to stick with it. Live with that brand voice you have created for your company. It should be the thread running within everything you do. Take that to heart, and you can direct your business through any uncertain times.

If you have discovered all the elements mentioned above now you can start building your company.  You can create the best brand story in the world, but if it is not consistent with the rest of your image, it will never work well.

 

Conclusion

We have been telling stories for thousands of years. Stories that pass down an oral history, stories that guide and shape our lives. Storytelling is all about engagement, involving your audience in your tale; using the power of words to build empathy, faith, and aspiration. Learning the art of storytelling is a powerful tool for brand marketing. This is what great storytelling is all about: discovering your brand’s core story, the story that will resonate most with your target audience.

The other significant benefit of storytelling is that stories get shared. We may not retell them around the campfire. Instead, we do the modern equivalent; we retweet, share videos, post on Facebook and occasionally may even tell someone verbally about a brand’s marketing campaigns. If you have a favorite company with a great story at its heart, share in the comments below.

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