“The right stories make people act.” –Made to Stick
Every company has a story to tell and telling your story more effectively can help improve your business relationships. Let’s face it; whether B2B or B2C, consumers want to hear a good story since at the heart of every business are people. A survey of over 600 tech marketers directed by The B2B Technology Marketing Group found 44% of respondents said the best and most compelling content to turn potential B2B clients into customers were case studies. Case studies tell how an organization helped another business solve a problem or increase revenue. However, many organizations, especially those with great leaders have a difficult time telling their “origin story.” Telling the company’s story “is hard for business leaders. Great leaders are often humble and reticent to speak about themselves.” (Coleman 2015) The Heath brothers of Made to Stick put it best, “The right stories make people act.” (Heath 2007)
In fact, Origin/Hill Holliday conducted a consumer buying behavioral study and the effects of storytelling. The result? Customers were more likely to purchase a product or service at a higher price if there was a story connect with it (even if the story was fictional). Ilya Vedrashko, SVP and Director of Research at Hill Holliday says, “Stories not only move people, but they also move product.” (Bazilian 2017) When people feel connected to your business, they will be more likely to buy what you are selling.
Beware, however, poorly constructed stories or even slightly fabricated stories designed to establish a better connection with people can have the opposite effect on consumers. It can and will discredit your organization and your products/services as a trusted source. People love to hear a good story, but they also want a real connection. Simply put, just tell the truth. Every company, even yours, has a startup story, and every company is created to address an issue or help something or someone in some form or fashion. Just telling your startup success story is enough to connect with your clients or potential clients.
“Self, Us, Now”
Marshall Ganz, a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, created a simple theory to follow when creating a story for your company: “Self, Us, Now.”
When creating a story, look at the personal events of your life and how these events impacted your role in your organization when creating the “self” aspect of your narrative. For some that may be a personal hardship when starting your company or even during the apex of your enterprise, for others, it may be a personal story of lessons you learned from a failure you experienced or a time where you missed the mark as the head of your company. These types of stories resonate with others who are or want to be in your shoes. These “self” narrations allow for vulnerability and honesty as a leader. Think along the lines of TED Talks.
Next, address the “us” of your organization’s stories. How does your personal narrative align with the personal experiences of others? Create a common ground everyone can relate and understand.
Last, is your call to action to the people and businesses that share your experience and story– the “now.” Your “now” maybe a simple charitable donation or the commitment to volunteer, for others it may be a call to have businesses use your service or product to increase their revenue. The call to action is unique and personal to your story but also speaks to your target audience.
Finally one of the most important things to consider when telling your story, you must know who your audience is and how to tell them the story that will engage them. It is human nature to want to hear an anecdote, that is why the best storytellers always have people coming back for more. However, telling your organization’s narrative is more than just a story, it the real and daily experiences that resonate with others and create a lasting impression on those who share the same trials and tribulations. When we can connect we create a bond that will last a lifetime. What is your story? Let’s start to share it.
Let’s get your story out in the world; this is the year to get your marketing done. Call (303) 607-9424 to get your company’s story out to the right people today!