There is no doubt that the competition in the business sector today is incomprehensible. Any business looking to stand out and succeed needs to make rigorous efforts and take a strategic approach to reach success. One of the most effective ways for startups to soar high is through connecting with customers. We need to get in the consumer’s head – What are the problems they are facing? How can your business help them solve those problems? And how can you make them believe that they can trust you to resolve these hurdles?
Storytelling has gradually emerged as an effectual content marketing medium to reach, engage, and convince potential customers that you value and understand their needs. It assures them that you will do your level best to make sure that those needs are fulfilled. Through this blog, let us attempt to decode the art of business storytelling that will help you get lifelong customer loyalty.
The Concept of Business Storytelling: Why does your business need a story?
The reasons why businesses use storytelling on their platforms are plenty. Some of the prominent ones are listed below:
Develops a human connection
Humanising a business creates a lasting impression on the consumers, and a story does just that and much more.
Mark Zuckerberg, a Harvard sophomore, started the social networking site Facebook at the age of 20 from his college dorm room. What once started as a site to facilitate a smooth connection between Harvard students turned him into the youngest self-made billionaire in just a matter of three years. His legacy story has personalised the brand, and it continues to serve as an inspiration to millions of young students to work on and execute their novel business ideas, irrespective of their age groups.
Stories have a way of drawing people in. They are stimulating and engaging and give the audience something to believe in. If the audience enjoys what and how you are conveying a fact, then they are more likely to seek services from your business.
Rapport building for a streamlined business-to-consumer relationship
When a business conveys its mission through a story, it makes the prospective consumers feel more comfortable and interested in what the business is catering to. And this should be the foremost aim of any organisation – to build a rapport with their audience. Comfort brings in trust, and trust is an essential building block for gaining customer loyalty.
Communicates your value and mission
Every business needs to convey its value and mission to its customers. The way they do it makes all the difference. The more attractive your mission and value statement is, the better the likelihood of developing the consumer’s interest in building a connection with your business. And what is better than a compelling story that shows the consumer that the founder of the company is just like them, having faced the same struggles and/or passionate about providing a solution so that the others aren’t stuck in the same boat for long.
Strikes a contrast between various other options
There is a high chance that many others in the market are selling the same kind of products or services as your company. Telling your journey will help the potential customers understand why you are different from so many others doing the same thing. If your story stands out, they are likely to remember you in the long run.
Just as we covered, ‘A Harvard sophomore turned self-billionaire developed a social networking site Facebook from his dorm room that generated millions of users in under 3 years.’ is more likely to stay with a consumer than a ‘Social networking site Facebook generated millions of active users in 3 years.’
Sound product/ service decision-making
Another benefit of business storytelling entails highlighting the product or service details in a clever manner. This way there is a higher chance of convincing the consumer of its perks. If a consumer shortlists two options for a product, they more often than not go with the one with an emotional and inspiring story than the one without it.
How to tell a story that helps you engage and connect with your audience?
Now that we have gone over why storytelling is beneficial for business growth, it is time to explore how to tell a story that stands up to all that this medium promises to deliver.
Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle theory seems to be of the utmost relevance to building the foundation of business storytelling. The author and inspirational speaker wisely remarked, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.” The Golden Circle explains that a good business story always addresses three questions: ‘Why’, ‘How’, and ‘What.’
Why are you doing what you’re doing? This is not concerned with money but with the purpose and motivation behind your business. They should be able to sympathise and relate with the mission of your business. In that case, they’ll feel much more confident in their decision to seek services from your company.
How will this help your audience? You need to make your audience believe that your business will help resolve the conflict they are facing.
For instance, a startup company that has been blindsided in the past when they were seeking digital marketing services from an agency will wish for some kind of safety net the next time. So, they will find that the B2B platform, Expand My Business, will provide them with that much-needed assistance that they need for their next project.
What are you offering? The last step is to outline the specifics of the products and services you will be extending to your prospective customers. Backing them up with stories of their ideation and execution will be even better.
The order of the Golden Circle is extremely crucial for the success of any organisation. It stresses that any business needs to first have a purpose or belief before addressing how it needs to be executed and what products or services will help them reach its goal.
What are the essential elements of storytelling?
Every story has three important elements that make it engaging and interesting. They are listed below:
A story cannot be called a story if it doesn’t have a character. The character in a business story would be your targeted consumer. Start by defining your buyer persona – the semi-fictional representation of your ideal buyer. Get in your buyer’s shoes, think about the challenges that they are facing, and how you will help resolve them.
For example, suppose your targeted customer is a single parent. In that case, you can deduce that they might lead a terribly busy life. So, you can work on a product or service that will keep their child busy and engaged, freeing up some of their time. You also need to decide how you will portray the character’s story, using the first, second, or third person point of view.
While the first-person point of view (I/ My) is usually used to build authority, the second-person point of view (You) empathises with the customer. On the other hand, the third-person narrative (He/ She/ They) can be used for case studies about customers. Though the point of view used should always be used consistently.
It is almost impossible to deliver a compelling story without any conflict. Conflicts are the essence of building human connections and show character transformation in the face of hurdles.
In order to build the conflict scenario in a story, outline the most prominent problems faced during the three stages of the buyer’s journey: Awareness (when they are researching how to solve the problem), Consideration (when they are considering what to choose between a couple of options), and Decision stage (when they are finally making the decision).
This concludes the story by giving a solution to the buyer’s problem. By the resolution stage, the purpose of the story should be met, and the audience should be able to make an informed choice that solves their problem.
What are the best practices for storytelling?
Try to recall the last story that you remember. What made it memorable? Following are some of the practices that, when used, leave their mark on the readers.
A story with emotional resonance can never go wrong. The readers are more drawn toward a business if they feel it understands what the reader has gone through. As we covered, conflicts create an emotional appeal. Guilt, anger, sadness, or dejectedness give power to the story, making the audience feel that the business cares for them.
Consistency and Authenticity
A story should never jump from one perspective to another. It should also not seem unreliable or made up. A seemingly fake story will only incite distrust. Be consistent with your views and present them in a genuine tone.
Clear and Precise Language and Structure
Like any content, your business story should also be well-worded and well-structured. It should have a good writing flow and should be summed up precisely enough for readers to stay engrossed throughout.
In a nutshell, a business delves into storytelling for a lot of reasons – to empathise and connect with their audience, to communicate the mission and values of the company, to develop long-lasting business-to-consumer relationships, and to educate the audience about the products and services they offer in a compelling manner. When the art of storytelling is done right, addressing the frequently asked questions of the consumer like ‘Why’, ‘What’, and ‘How’, then earning lifelong customer loyalty and retention is not far away.