People love stories. They are what make us want to curl up with a good book, push us to the edge of our seat during a good movie, touch our hearts and inspire us to take action. When you tell your own story, you can win over your audience to build your brand and gain customers.
Good stories tell us about people, give us background, make things memorable and touch us in ways few other marketing tactics can. Telling your story can also give your business a backdrop that tells your market more about who you are and what you strive to do.
Spotting a Good Story
In their book “Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die: Made to Stick,” Chip Heath and Dan Heath explain that stories have the power to make ideas stick, or make them more memorable and actionable.
They write, “Stories have the amazing dual power to simulate and to inspire. And most of the time we don’t even have to use much creativity to harness these powers – we just need to be ready to spot the good ones that life generates every day.”
To use the power of stories, you don’t need to invent one – you need to find one that will resonate with your audience. Ask yourself the following questions about your business to identify your story:
+ Why did I start my business?
+ How has my business changed lives?
+ What makes my business different?
+ What impact does my business have on the community or industry?
Looking at where your business came from and what kinds of changes you are creating is a simple way to start finding stories that will help you communicate who you are.
Feeding Millions vs. Feeding One
Recently, NPR reported on a study conducted by Paul Slovic, a psychologist at the University of Oregon. In the study, Slovic told one group of people about a young child who was suffering from starvation and asked who would be willing to donate to help her. Then, he told a second group about the same girl and about millions of other people who are also suffering from starvation and asked who would be willing to donate to help.
The results are surprising. Slovic found that the group of people who heard about the millions of people suffering from starvation and the little girl only donated about half as much as the group who only heard about the little girl.
What does this mean? Stories we can relate to have power. It’s a fact that there are millions of people around the world suffering from starvation that could benefit from donations. But, the huge numbers in these kinds of statistics and the idea of making that large of an impact is hard to comprehend.
However, a compelling story about one small girl who is starving and needs donations is relatable and has power. It touches people in a different way and makes them feel inspired to help make a change in her life.
Among the facts and statistics that prove that millions of people are starving is the natural story that there is a single child out there whose life could be dramatically changed for the better with the help of donations.
It doesn’t take a lot of creativity or even research to spot this story. All it takes is seeing the problem in a personal way that lends itself to a story that will touch people’s hearts and inspire them to take action.
What is Your Story?
Everyone has a story. Your business has a story. The trick is to find that story and then tell it in a way that helps you reach your target market and compels people to take notice and listen.
Ask yourself the questions listed above and then look for a way you can make your story personalized, touching, interesting and relatable. Once you have your story, tell it!
Communicate your story with your audience through your marketing, branding and content so people will begin to identify the story with who you are. Telling stories can help you win over your audience so you can grow your business.
Rachel Cool has a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations. She has experience working in public relations, journalism, Internet marketing and search engine optimization.
Rachel’s passion is writing and she loves helping brands tell their stories, reach their markets and influence their audiences. She feels that a business’ copy, whether it is online or print, is an integral part of its marketing and communications strategies.
When she’s not writing, Rachel loves to cook and get lost in a mystery novel. She also likes to get competitive over a good card or board game, watch movies, fish and spend time outside.