It's a necessary prerequisite for persuasion. (Good post on how to understand another's point of view.
Karen Dietz's insight:
It's easy to say, "Hey, just tell a story and you'll start a relationship."
But if our stories do not connect to the person's real needs and issues, we are whistling in the wind.
So understanding your audience -- whether as an individual or as a group -- is critical for your biz stories to make a difference.
Which is why I selected this article. I don't find too many posts on this topic, which is one reason why I brought it in to this collection. And it is also a really good article.
The authors provide specific steps and questions to ask that will allow you to connect more directly with your audience. They will come away from the convesation/story sharing with you saying, "He/she really got me!" That's a double-entendre by the way :)
I hope you get some great ideas from this article, and that your influence skills continue to soar.
Customers own the story of the brand now. What brands say is far less important than what brands actually do to serve the well being of the faithful. Whereas before, the brand conversation was based on delivery and interruption, successful...
Karen Dietz's insight:
What a great article that goes a long way in de-mystefying brand storytelling!
I particularly like the emphasis on brand storytelling creating deep affinity if done right, that chemistry is part of the equation, and that it is a strategic imperative, not a promotional tactic.
With these attitudes in mind, this brings brand storytelling out of the realm of mere transaction into an ongoing relationship between company and customer.
The authors Derrick Daye and Brad VanAuken then go on to talk about the drivers of brand storytelling: purpose, method, and opportunity.
I wish they had included company examples -- good, bad, or indifferent -- to illustrate their points. Nevertheless, their article does help us all know the steps we need to take to either create or further enhance our brand storytelling.
I've rescooped this article from fellow curator John Kratz because I thought it was so good. It is a great example of how a company ramped up business once it started sharing stories of its customers -- with customers as the heros. Take notes folks! And thanks John for finding and sharing this article.
The year is 2008 and you are in the Financial Services Business.
"How do you turn a quiet, sales-driven organization into a B2B marketing powerhouse?"
"Consider the story of Lincoln Financial Group, a traditionally sales-centric organization... The 106-year-old financial services, insurance, and annuities company..."
"Lincoln Financial had previously conducted research showing that the more people take charge of their lives, including their finances, the better they feel about the direction of their lives."
"While others in the category seemed to be drawn to using fear in their advertising, we felt the time was right to try a new, more optimistic approach."
"...the campaign showcased a video of women of all ages showing how they take charge of their lives and provided educational content to help women do just that. The PR focused on the research results. The Chief Life Officer ads continued the "take charge, optimistic theme," which was reinforced in social media.
If you’re only developing content with consumption in mind, you’re missing a huge opportunity to keep momentum going as prospective buyers move through the buying cycle.
I've said this before -- biz storytelling is about engagement, not simply broadcasting messages.
This is the first article I've found that actually tries to break down the different types of conversations you want your biz stories to spark or serve.
I disagree with the distinction between dialogue and conversation. I think a better distinction to make is between messaging and conversation. And stories are often shared within a conversation. Conversations are not necessarily storytelling. So that is my nit-pick for today.
I really wish the author, Stephanie Tilton, would have included examples for each type of conversation mentioned. She tries to explain the different conversations but I need examples this morning in order to get ideas for how to apply her advice. Or maybe I'm just too tired this morning!
So there are 2 lessons here -- 1) target your storytelling to the conversations you want to promoteand help along; and 2) make sure when you write content you give examples so you don't make it so hard for your readers to apply your insights.
I also really like the point the author makes about shifting from talking to listening, and shifting to serial storytelling in your business.
OK -- I'm heading into the kitchen for some more coffee!
In our social media-infused world, traditional marketing logic just doesn't work.
I had earmarked this article to share with you awhile ago and just found it again when cleaning up my emails. Better late than never!
Here's what I love about this post -- it makes no bones about the fact that marketing is changing. And if you haven't gotten with the program, get on board quick!
Now, I don't agree that ALL traditional marketing techniques are dead. But the author Bill Lee sure does make a great case explaining how things are changing. And his statistics are riveting.
And I also like that he shares with us what we need to do to stay with the curve:
Getting into community marketing
Identify and promote customers that bring value (and not just based on how much they buy)
Help your customers build social capital
Involve your customers in creating solutions together
What's story got to do with it? Stories are the way the points above happen. It's all about the stories you share, listen to, promote, ask for, engage with, and retell. And hint hint -- these are your customer stories mostly!
Go read the article for all of Lee's insights. This will post will definitely get you thinking differently.
To really know customers you must engage them face-to-face.
This is a handly little article reminding us all that data and "likes" can only take us so far. If we really want to know our customers to help guide for innovation, marketing, business relationships, and ultimately business growth, then face-to-face interactions are imperative.
OK -- now we've gotten that message, and we are in front of a customer, now what? How do you maximize your time together?
The practical answer is to ask for, and listen to, their stories! That is what this article does not say. Yet that is your path to success.
What stories do you ask for? Ask them to share with you their experiences of your product/service, your company, your marketing/branding, or whatever burning question you need an answer to.
Just remember, most people ask information questions where they get lots of description but little story. That's not so helpful. They will ask someone to describe what they like about their product. In return they will gets answers like, "I like the blue color, and how it fits in my hand." interesting, but not so helpful.
Ask for EXPIENCES instead:"Tell me about the first time you used our product and what that was like ..."In return, you will receive a story rich in material and meaning:"One day I was really struggling one day to open a jar. For some reason my arthritis was really bad that morning and I couldn't get the strength to open that jar. I didn't want to ask my daughter for help because i hate feeling dependent on someone just to open a jar! A friend had given me your handy opener as a gift but I hadn't even taken it out of its packaging yet. That morning I grabbed it but had a devil of a time getting it out of its plastic wrapping! I finally took a scissors to it, which means I probably have blunt scissors now [HINT for changing packaging]. But I finally got it opened and used it on that jar I was struggling with. Voila! It was so easy! I had that jar open in a jiffy. Your design made it very easy in my hands. I checked out your website to see if it came in other colors so I could give it as a gift to friends. Was kind of disappointed in the color selection but I'll make do. I'm sure they will appreciate its ease and cool design like I do."
You get the picture -- haven't customers share experiences is much more valuable. From the little story above you can now dig deeper into the story, or keep asking for later experiences.
Enjoy this process. Take your time -- no need to schedule 20 interviews to aquire tons of material. A handful will do to get you started. Remember you are going for quality, not quantity. You will learn as you go and interviews down the line will be richer and more complex because you will have gotten better at evoking stories from your customers.
I would love to hear about your experiences doing this activity!
Every use of your website is a conversation started by a site visitor. Think about it: why do people come to your site or app?
If you read my review and article on this same page ("Forget About Content Management...") about moving away from content management systems to developing audience development systems, then this article explains more about how to do that. Yeah!
I really like the specific examples and concrete steps laid out in this post. It all makes sense to me!
Once again, while never mentioning storytelling per se, the article is all about using stories and story elements to generate conversations and engagement with customers/prospects. Like: converse with personal prounouns, invoke action using verbs, and write visually. Sounds like storytelling to me.
So go grab this article and its tips so you can continue developing audiences and engagement to build business success.
Here's the 3rd article in 2 days about ways to improve our listening skills. Well, all I can say is, it must be time to focus on listening :)
This is what I love about this article that fellow curator Ken Jondahl found: it talks about the 4 types of listening we typically do. And how to avoid those experiences. And how to engage in the kind of listening that does produce powerful insights and results. Yeah.
So go listen better and have fun practicing this weekend!
Online conversion forms like PayPal’s registration page (right) are invariably formatted exactly like printed forms such as this credit card application (left)—approximately as fun to complete as a hazing ritual, despite having exactly the opposite...
I love love love this article because it points to another new application for using narrative or story elements in your business. Specifically here -- by re-designing the web forms on your site. Or frankly ANY form you ask a customer to fill out. Who knew??!!
The examples here are terrific and so are the tips. It is a very thorough article and one you will get a lot from.
"Despite working in marketing for more than 10 years, let me first share this rare point of view among people in my industry: a lot of marketing actually IS complete BS."
Hallelujah! Finally someone is calling a spade a spade. We periodically need articles like this to keep us on the straight and narrow path. And to make sure we are continuing to build credibility instead of undermining it with our stories.
Is all marketing BS? No. Are all stories BS? No.
However, is it starting to feel like marketing and busines stories are BS? Yes.
Lack of authenticity ("I can make stuff up or evade the issue to sway you").
A focus on persuasion (If you do X you will receive Y) instead of influence (engagement, inspiration, truth telling).
The inability to walk the talk -- that means living/embodying the biz stories being told.
All this leads, as the author Rohit Bhargava points out, to distrust and a believability crisis.
So what is a conscientious biz storyteller to do? Follow the tips suggested here. Read the article for all the insights and tips.
Oh and BTW -- despite what this article and Saturday Night Live say, and as campy/hokey as that commerical is, I get a thrill from Brad Pitt!
See photos of your souvenirs and the stories behind them.
Well, here's nifty little example of customer engagement with storytelling. It's the New York Times curating little anecdotesfrom readers about travel souveniers. The pieces are short and quick, and each one has a photo attached of the souvenier.
What a lovely way to connect and hear from their readers!
Now -- can you do something similar in your business?
Telling is old school, pedantic, and pompous. Telling is transactional; it implies a giver and a taker. When you tell someone something, you shut down true communication. Modern, effective communication is about engagement. It’s about achieving resonance. It’s about moving beyond sympathy to empathy. Modern, effective communication is about engagement.
Ahhhhh -- words of wisdom from colleague Thaler Pekar about what everyone in business needs to recognize about story dynamics. And how working with these dynamics are so critical in today's new marketing/branding landscape.
I couldn't have said all better myself Thaler! Good job.
Thaler writes for non-profits but the same principles apply to anyone in business -- large or small.
If you've been disenchanted lately with lackluster storytelling results in your business, then these story principles should get you back on track again.
Don't wait -- read this short but powerful article now. Don't get left behind.
Winning entrepreneurs bond emotionally with employees, investors and customers--and dramatically increase their chances for funding and for long term success--when they hone their ability to tell meaningful stories about their businesses.
Here is an article discussing 2 examples of effective business storytelling for marketing/branding/identity purposes that really work. One is a small business (Baby Steals) and the other one is a large enterpriese (IKEA). You will notice the difference in their stories as the size of the business kicks in.
Pay close attention to what the founder of Baby Steals did/does -- because implicit in the example shared are story listening skills and how the stories she was hearing from customers/prospects also shaped the success of her company.
And then there are 10 tips for bringing storytelling into your business marketing/branding efforts. All are solid. A word of advice here -- working on several of these 10 tips takes time. The ideas you come up with during your first pass you will want to test with friends, colleagues, customers, and prospects. This is an iterative process where your focus and messaging gets sharper, clearer, and more powerful over time. So give yourself the opportunity to play. This goes no matter what size of business you have -- micro to large enteprise.
We are heading into the 4th quarter of the year -- what a great time to hone in on your business storytelling, laying a stronger foundation for your company in 2013.
There's a rather interesting new study out of Ohio State University that says that consuming media may affect us more than we think.
Stories are very powerful. The stories we read and tell ourselves influence how we be and act in the world. The stories we share with others influence how others be and act in the world.
This article talks about a recent Ohio State University study showing the link between stories and behavior.
Which is why the hype about storytelling in the worlds of marketing and branding give me a queasy feeling sometimes.
On the other hand, if we as leaders, business owners, entreprenuers and heads of non-profits choose to do good in the world, understanding the power of stories can allow us to create our worlds and those we interact with more consciously.
If you want to be a certain way as a leader or business owner, read stories that support that.
As a small business or enterprise, what kinds of customers do you want to attract and work with? What kinds of employees do you want to attract to you? Figure that out and share stories in alignment with those desires.
This sounds simple, is not so easy, yet there is great truth and wisdom to these notions and the conclusions of the study shared here.
Makes you wonder and take pause about some of the video games out there.
Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.
OMG -- what an amazing video! It is about 12 minutes long -- and eloquent plus thought-provoking. It is inspiring and heartfelt. I know this will feed you well.
Here is how to view it through the lense of small business, enterprises, non-profit work, or social cause entrepreneurship:
There is not one story, but multiple stories of different people that together create or organization -- whether you are a sole proprietor, nonprofit or a multinational corporation. You would think that is obvious, but I can't tell you how frequently people come to me for their 'story' -- their one, defining story. But thinking that way is dangerous and extremely limiting -- and untimately not successful as this Chimamanda explains. There are your stories, stories of customers, stories of partners, stories of staff, stories of stakeholders, etc...
The tone of today's marketing/branding efforts reflects more the shallowness of story instead of its depth. Depth comes from the many stories, not the 'one'. We instead must engage with ALL the stories otherwise we rob people of their dignity, respect and humanity. That thievery does not create meaningful relationships -- and we are all in the age of relationship building/sustaining if you haven't figured that out yet.
Over-storying happens all the time -- to silence different voices for the sake of efficiency. The result? Stereotypes that while true, are woefully incomplete. This ultimately creates an inability to reach and engage with more people/markets in your business.
Stories in organizations and public life can be used to dispossess and malign (our current political climate?) or to bring together and empower. There are dangers in storytelling -- yes, even in business -- and care must be taken so we hear and can operate from a balance of stories for the health and well-being of the organization.
In the end, your success in working with stories for engagement, connection and meaningful relationship is all about awareness, intent, and deep listening -- and getting really smart about the power of storytelling. Enjoy watching this video about the depth, richness, and beauty of storytelling that will help you truly engage with those around you.
As Chimamanda says at the end, reject the single story and regain a kind of paradise.
Many thanks to Gregg Morris who originally curated this for his Story and Narrative scoop.it.