There’s something powerful about this thing we call Story. We gravitate to it. We crave it. We seek it out. It’s literally a part of us, and it connects us all as human beings. Susan Conley notes, “Story breaks down walls and barriers and exposes hope, fear, and passion so it can be shared by the teller and the listener. It creates connectivity.”
Entertaining as it is, story transcends mere facts and engages the heart to consider questions like, “How did I get here?” “Where am I going?” “Who am I?” “Do I matter?” or even, “Am I loved?” Additionally, we find ourselves emulating heroes and making choices that reflect desired outcomes we experienced in the stories we have been told. Hence, story often becomes our teacher at the deepest level, surpassing raw facts or lists of Do’s and Don’ts.
“Good stories surprise us. They make us think and feel. They stick in our minds and help us remember ideas and concepts in a way that a PowerPoint crammed with bar graphs never can.” —Joe Lazauskas and Shane Snow, The Storytelling Edge
I believe we’re reaching a point, if we’re not there already, where hype for hype’s sake around products and services has a greatly reduced impact. With all of the noise being generated on web-connected devices, brands who effectively connect with customers through telling authentic stories while creating a sense of a valued relationship will be the winners.
Simply stated, people want to connect with your brand if it’s something they can follow and trust. Seth Godin, noted business influencer, says, “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”
Think about it:
Considering your brand, the primary question to ask yourself is, “What story are you telling?” Is your story clear? Is it compelling? Is it connecting?
It can take some time to accurately discover your story—and you may need some help finding it!—but once you have it, be sure to tell it! Donna Tartt states, “The storytelling gift is innate: one has it or one doesn’t. But style is at least partly a learned thing: one refines it by looking and listening and reading and practice – by work.”