Everyone loves a good story, especially when it’s personable and relatable. Storytelling is how values & life lessons have always been communicated and passed down through generations (Goldilocks definitely taught me never to leave my house unlocked and food unattended). Now, in terms of marketing, successful business owners have caught on to the power of storytelling. Think about your favorite commercial or ad: it’s entertaining, relatable, and memorable, correct? Why is that? Better yet, why wouldn’t it be? Television and print ads have less than nine seconds to catch your attention, and great stories are what capture the hearts of consumers. In your case, your job as a business owner is to figure out your story and sell it:
1. Be Transparent & Authentic
Even though it’s for a profit, your story should still be credible. You want to speak to the emotions of your audience, build trust, and create connections. Lisa Price, founder of cosmetics line Carol’s Daughter, explained in dozens of interviews, as well as on the back of every packaged product, the story of investing years in perfecting her homemade, natural hair and skincare products. Her mother, Carol, who supported her dream, inspired the name for the cosmetics, as Lisa’s most proud recognition is being her mother’s daughter. This story intrigued Oprah Winfrey, who then invited Price on her renowned talk show. Business for Carol’s Daughter exploded immediately after.
2. Don’t force feed; Engage
Those intrusive, bombarding “buy this, look at this, love this” messages no longer work. Our minds immediately block them out like annoying pop-up ads. In his Harvard Business Review article, The Irresistible Power of Storytelling as a Strategic Business Tool, Harrison Monarth states that humans, as social creatures, relate to other people. Monarth later explains that simple data may be persuasive, but stories go beyond and inspire people to act. Any parent (or former daycare teacher like me) would agree after discovering that using a child’s favorite story or TV show character to persuade them to eat and behave is a great technique.
3. Discover your “Why”
Author Scott Donaton explained in his article 10 Commandments of Content that finding your “why” is not about what you do or how you do it, but instead your reason behind it. No one wants to support a business whose sole purpose (evidently) is to make money. What was your passion behind starting your business? Whom did you hope to inspire or impact? Once you’ve figured out your “why,” you’ve figured out your story and brand.
4. Add Value to your Products & Services
How does it help or benefit the customer? Why should they choose your services over your competitors’? As a business owner, you’re also the teacher and problem solver. Communicate your products and services as an expert in your field would, offering your customers as many tips, instructions, and feedback as possible.
Now, after reading through those four essentials, you’ve discovered your story and are ready to market your brand. And hey, sometimes that’s easier said than done. Here at Emerge, we specialize in brand identity, especially for startups. If you need any assistance, give us a shout!