Storytelling: Ideas and examples to inspire your own story
Storytelling is telling a story, but not any story. The story of your business in a way that makes it relevant to your target audience.
A good story inspires and generates emotions, creating a powerful relationship with potential customers that goes beyond functional benefits of the product or service you sell. And this may be just what your business needs to achieve your prospects’ preference.
Of course, a good story will not make a lousy product work, but on the same conditions, a good story generates confidence and appreciation that ultimately generates an advantage versus competitors. A customer will prefer a product, service or company that admires or the one he/she identifies with.
Now, how to merge the art of storytelling with your business, and how to make it interesting enough?
Here are some alternatives of how you can approach your own story and create empathy on your prospects and customers. Focus on the one that applies to your own business or type of story.
Tell the story of the founder
In many family businesses, the origins are fascinating and inspiring. Tell about the way the generations evolve to shape a new culture and a new company.
Samuel Adams Beer
Samuel Adams beer promotes their story at different communication pieces, including cupholders like this.
“25 years ago I introduced Samuel Adams Boston Lager in 25 bars and restaurants in Boston. I had no office, no computer and one employee. I spent most of my days going bar to bar with my beer. There is an old saying ‘Do something you love and never work a day in your life.’ I don’t feel like I’ve worked for 25 years!”
Brewer – Founder
Tell what inspired the creation of your business
Sometimes a company ‘s origins can be almost unexpected and unplanned. It starts with an idea and ends in another.
Opportunities are coming and new possibilities arise. One thing leads to another.
The story of Avon, a world leader in the catalog selling, with more than six million representatives in over 150 countries is amazing.
Avon was founded by David H. McConnell, a door to door bookseller that offered a small perfume as a gift for the housewife (a perfume made by himself), as an incentive for the purchase of books.
Soon he noticed that his perfumes generated more interest than his books, so he changed his business and founded California Perfume Company in 1886, which years later would change its name to Avon.
The story of the world’s most famous whiskey began when a young Scottish farmer named John “Johnnie” Walker, began selling its own brand of whiskey Walker’s Kilmarnock Whisky in his family’s grocery store, becoming the preferred brand in Scotland.
In 1860, his son Alexander invented the squared bottle, which reduced the number of broken bottles during the shaky sea shipping, additionally it allows him to include more bottles per shipment. On the other hand, the label with an exact inclination of 24 degrees allowed him use larger type fonts and increase brand visibility.
Share what your brand means
A great benefit of stories is that it generates word of mouth, it is something shareable, and includes fun and interesting facts that we all like to share.
Santa Rita Wine
Their 120 brand was named in honor of 120 patriots who fought for the independence of Chile.
Telling the origin of the name is something that gives context and meaning to brands. Beyond a commercial interest, there is a story behind every brand.
Danone was founded in Spain by Isaac Carasso and the company was name in honor of his son Daniel, since Danon means “little Daniel” in Catalán.
In the story of Danone, the brand has a deep meaning.
The German battery brand has its origins in an acronym that describes the functions of the company, which in English would be Sales, Charging and Repair of Portable Batteries, in German this same words are Vertrieb, Aufladung, Reparatur, Transportabler Akkumulatoren.
Talk about your values and your business vision
Some entrepreneurs are motivated by something in particular, the hope of a better world, generate changes in society or contributing to their local community.
They are businesses with deep meaning and a reason to be special.
Blake Mycoskie went on vacation to Argentina (that is why the Argentinian flag is on the logo), and saw a business opportunity with social responsibility in a local type of shoe called alpargata. Through its One by One philosophy he managed to differentiate and inspire. For every pair of shoes sold, TOMS donates another pair to underprivileged children in different countries.
He adapted the design to a more demanding fashion consumer in the US, and built a story that connects and gives a reason to buy beyond a purely functional benefit. He developed a movement.
The name TOMS comes from the abbreviation of Tomorrow’s Shoes. With this positioning and business strategy that appeals to people’s sense of social responsibility, he has created a great company that currently sends shoes around the world.
The One by One philosophy has been successfully applied also to a line of eyeglasses and with the sale of his book, for every book that is sold, the company donates a book to a community in need.
His story became so popular that it appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres show.
Tell what you wanted to solve
In other cases, companies are born hoping to solve something that needed to be solved, or to fill the absence of a type of product or service with a viable demand.
Hard Rock Cafe
The story of Hard Rock Cafe is the story of Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton, two Americans living in London that could not find burgers as they were accustomed to enjoy at their homeland.
To solve their own need and assuming that other Americans and some locals would be interested in American burgers, opened in 1971 a burger american-style place in London and called it Hard Rock Cafe.
Be creative in the way you tell your story, explore different formats like audio or video, and share it at unusual places like the back of the invoices, the menu or your packaging.
Your story could be that connection that makes the difference between a company that just commercialize products, and a company that has heart and meaning.
About David Gomez
David is a Spanish-speaking Duct Tape Marketing Consultant located in Buenos Aires, Argentina. As Director of Bien Pensado, he helps small and midsize businesses on developing practical and effective marketing strategies both online and offline. Author of Facebook Toolbox book, marketing professor at different universities, columnist at Small Business Manager magazine and Keynote Marketing Speaker at different events throughout Latin America. David has a degree on Business Administration, a masters degree on Consumer Psychology and an MBA from Icesi-Tulane University.