Friday, August 23, 2013

Are You Telling Your Story?

People love stories. They tell them around campfires, buy books to read them, and gather around the television to watch them play out on screen. This love of stories can be a powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal.

One of the best reasons to employ storytelling in your marketing is that it’s memorable. How many statistics do you hear over the course of a week? If you’re like most professionals, you probably hear quite a few. How many of those statistics that you haven’t heard over and over do you actually remember? Now consider how many stories you remember, even the ones you only heard or overheard just once. It’s probably a lot.

It’s not that you’re ignoring the statistics and paying attention to the stories, although that may play some role. The brain processes stories in a different way. Stories engage our emotions. We invest in the narrative and feel something about the people involved. Maybe we don’t like the person, or what they did, or maybe we’re sympathetic to their plight. We connect with the story and the people in the story because we’re interested in other people.

Most of the time, numbers and factoids exist in a vacuum. It’s difficult to invest in an average or a percentage, unless it applies to you specifically. A business owner is deeply invested in her market share, but because it’s part of her personal narrative. Her customers probably don’t know that number and would particularly care if they did, because that number doesn’t apply to them.

On the other hand, if that same business owner talked about how her grandparents started that business after fleeing the Nazi threat during World War II, people get interested. It’s not just a business anymore. That business is not a player in a bigger story that changed the world. Of course, not every business has a story with that kind of native emotional power, but every business has a story.

At some point, you decided to open a business or take over a business from your parent or a buy out a business. Why did you do that? What drove you to make that choice, over the potentially easier path of going to work for someone else? Did someone inspire you? Do you learn your craft from a wizened old grandfather?

By communicating your story to customers, you provide them with an emotional hook and a narrative they can remember. It helps to make you interesting and provides a kind of unique differentiation that no one can copy. You’re the only person who can lay claim to your story. If you want to tell your story to your customers, Tier3, out of Scottsdale, can help you get your story out to them.

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