This is a continuation of an article from Businessing Magazine. Read Part I.
As a business owner, communication is a huge part of your job. Of course, you need to communicate effectively with customers for whom you’re doing work, but it doesn’t stop there. You also need to communicate well with your team or anyone else that works with you (freelancers, contractors, etc.), and you need to be able to communicate with potential customers—that is, people who don’t know you or your business yet.
First, let’s focus on potential customers. Marketing is always a challenge because you’re reaching out to new people. If you’ve ever run a marketing campaign before, you know: You have to think about what you want people to know about your business and how best to say it. You want to get people’s attention, but you also want to make sure your message is clear and to the point. It can seem like a tough balance to strike, and most business owners struggle to do it well.
This is where storytelling comes in. Storytelling is such a powerful marketing tool because, like we discussed in Part I of this article, the narrative format makes information stick in people’s minds. When a person reads or listens to a story, their whole brain is activated, and they begin to have an emotional response—just as they would if they were experiencing the events in the story themselves.
Marketing Storytelling in Action
If you have questions about the benefits of using stories to talk about your business, look no further than the Super Bowl—an event that has become as highly anticipated for the commercials that air during the game as it is for the game itself. If you analyze some of the most memorable and effective Super Bowl commercials over the years (“Puppy Love” by Budweiser in 2014, “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” by Old Spice in 2010, and even “Hare Jordan” by Nike way back in 1992, to name a few standouts), one thing they all have in common is that they tell stories. Some are funny, some are poignant, and some are just absurd, but they all involve characters that bring viewers on an emotional 30-to-60-second journey.
Another example of marketing storytelling at work is what meal subscription service Blue Apron does. With each box of food, the Blue Apron team includes beautiful recipe cards that explain the inspiration behind each recipe. What’s more—they also include a three-to-four page booklet that profiles one of their partnering farmers or food suppliers. By learning the stories behind the food, I’m that much more connected to it. Each meal has meaning, and I continue my subscription not only for the delicious food, but also for the education they provide about where that food comes from.
There’s even science behind why this kind of marketing works. Paul J. Zak, director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies and author of Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performance Companies has devoted much of his professional life to researching the hormone oxytocin and its effect on decision-making and trust building. His research has shown that people’s oxytocin levels increase as they empathize with characters in stories, making them more open to persuasion and influence.
In other words, tell a compelling story, and people are more likely to trust your company and buy your product.
At Maven, We Love Stories
At our core, we are storytellers. We love partnering with business owners like Matt Grisafe of AV Programming Associates (AVPA) to create books like his new e-book, Home Entertainment and Control at the Tip of Your Finger: A Glimpse into Luxury Living Made Possible by Advanced Home Automation. Grisafe could have simply created a brochure for his customers that listed all of the different home automation services AVPA can provide to homeowners.
Instead, he recognized how much more powerful it would be to tell the story of a family that upgraded their home and how those upgrades assist them in their busy lives. He saw the potential for people to read the story of the Groves family and see how they, too, could have a fully-automated smart home.
It was an honor to partner with AVPA on this e-book, and we hope it inspires you to create something like it for your business and your customers! Contact us today to discuss how we can help you create a compelling story that will draw customers in and make them feel like they already know and trust you by the time they make that first phone call.