When you tell a friend, colleague or family member about a product or service-buying experience, you’re telling a story. The same goes when writing a review about a commercial interaction. Or sharing ideas and insights on a community forum.

Storytelling no doubt goes back to Zog and Zelda sitting in their cave sharing the day’s woes and wins. Stories are as old as language itself. Today, experts and expert wanna-be’s are all weighing in on the importance of telling stories in branding, messaging and sales. It seems that practically everyone is telling stories to get people excited and engaged.

So, of course, just as we’re overloaded with information in general, now we’re getting overloaded with stories—making it more difficult for individual tales to stand out.

In an August Communication World story, author Mark Di Somma frames the story-glut discussion, pointing out, “How do you win as a brand in a world where products are more and more alike, where distribution systems are efficient and far-reaching, where everyone has a ‘story’ and is telling it across multiple channels?”

The article continues, “The brands that are winning are…those that are finding powerful and personal ways to connect. By first building affinity and inclination and then using product, distribution and storytelling to strengthen and tighten those bonds, these connective brands are essentially reversing the traditional relationship equation. They first link with people to instill belief in the company, then draw on social media and story lines to involve and include people, and finally they look to distribution and product to deliver experiences and products.”

Di Somma cites GoPro as a customer loyalty success story, “calling on people to get out into the world and push themselves to the limit…Each person yearns at some level to be a hero in their own way. Go Pro’s videos, social media feeds and stories then celebrate, through capture, what happens when ordinary people do exactly that: base jump off sheer cliffs; ski in extraordinary environments; climb icebergs; brave mountainous seas. The stories endorse the belief in exploring possibilities. They bring it to life…All of this in turn changes the relationship that people have with GoPro’s cameras.”

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