The origins of storytelling are ancient and lost in the midst of time. Originally, there were no written languages. Storytelling was a group’s way of passing along their collected knowledge and culture to the young.
Stories are easy, they are magical, they allow for free imagination, allowing us to feel what happened in the past, present and future in real time. In the mind of the storytellers everything is possible, they can be true, or lies. We hear stories every time good or bad. Everyone has a story to tell or share. We are shaped by our life experiences, both personal and professional. Sharing stories about our own lives and also the lives of the people whom we serve is very powerful. It gives our connections the opportunity to really feel like they know us.
In tourism we see how great story tellers use stories to enhance local content and attract the global village to a locality. Recently, a story of the Town that declared itself the center of the world; Felicity, California, it’s a small settlement and is not worth being talked about or remembered but here we are talking about it, and guess what? It has fulfilled its marketing objective of getting in our minds, staying there and popping up whenever it feels like.
As a marketer you need to adopt the art of storytelling, why? Because you will sell more. Reasons you need stories;
They are Memorable.
They travel further.
They inspire Action.
Focusing on establishing a connection between customer and message first and selling the product second is the key to effective marketing.
We should tell stories in which the product or service is an element. Perhaps it is the catalyst for change (i.e., a character in the story uses the product and is changed for the better or worse) or perhaps it helps move the story along. However the product or service only serves a role, the story is primary.
And, because of that, the message sounds more genuine. Although consumers ultimately understand that the message is intended to convince them to buy the product or service, they are emotionally connected to the characters (or the “action” of the story in the event that such action is personified) because it is a story.
Make sure every story is compelling and share-worthy. Here are some questions to guide you;
Does it grab attention? Does it answer the question; why should I care? Does it surprise you? Does it generate interest? Does it have universal appeal? Does it provide a solution?
Here are steps on how to write good stories.
1. Start with the end in mind.
2. Guide your story with the 5 Ws and H; Who, What, When, Where, Why and how.
3. Make it emotional.
4. Describe the journey through the obstacles.
5. Describe the turning point.
6. Provide lessons from the story.
7. End with a punch line.
And remember… “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou.