The power of storytelling for business

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Why your business needs to use storytelling to communicate effectively with its audience

Every day, thousands of press releases announcing “ground-breaking” partnership agreements, “game-changing” new products, “industry-leading” executive appointments and other self-congratulatory puff swamp the inboxes of the UK media. And unless they come from Google, Apple or some other hugely significant organisation, they’re ignored.

Why? They’re boring. Journalists don’t care about you or your business; they only care about what will interest their readers. This means they have to behave as professional storytellers, presenting news that has drama, that is relevant to their audience and is highly topical.

For these are the ingredients of storytelling and they can make any business announcement worth listening to.

 But the power of storytelling goes beyond getting the attention of journalists and can in fact do much more in establishing positive brand identities, building customer loyalty and increasing sales. Here are eight reasons why.

1. It’ll make your brand and product more memorable

It’s commonly known that people forget facts but remember stories. Using storytelling in your communication can trigger emotion in the reader which causes the brain to release dopamine into the system. This will help in remembering the story (and your brand). In fact, ‘the Story Method’ is used commonly to help with memorisation by both students cramming for tests, and those treating Alzheimer patients.

2. It’ll help you cut through the noise

27 million pieces of content are published every day. That’s a lot of competition. A story that engages your audience will help your messages stand out.

 3. It can add character to your brand

According to an article in Psychology Today, when evaluating brands, consumers use emotions rather than information. By applying your brand values to the stories you can tell, you can help your audience to associate those characteristics with your company.

4. A story will quite literally have a bigger impact on an individual’s thinking than data

When listing to a story, many more parts of your brain are engaged such as Wernicke’s area (which is language comprehension), Broca’s area (which is language processing) and the Sensory Cortex and Cerebellum (which is language comprehension).

5. It will help the reader connect with the problem and the solution

A story activates areas of the brain which make the reader turn the story into their own ideas and experience thanks to a process called neural coupling.

6. You can apply value to your product

A good story will have drama – which is the problem faced by your audience – and, as the storyteller, you have control over its severity. By finding data that shows your audience’s problem is growing at a frightening rate, you will therefore increase the value your audience will place on the solution (your product).

7. A story is more likely to compel your audience to act than an announcement

The brain can’t actually tell the difference between hearing a story and experiencing it. Therefore, hearing a story about the problem they face will likely make your audience concerned and they’ll desire the solution presented in the story (your product). 

8. Without context, your business and product is dull.

Sorry, but it’s true. However, if you tell a story, you have a chance.  Here are some examples: 

  • Data back up solutions – Consumers risk loss of personal photos and data worth average of £1.5mn per household every day
  • Management training for C-suite – Study of 2030 businesses sees employee culture will overtake sales and marketing as key to success
  • Health and safety auditing software – Think your hospitality business deserves top marks? New investigation uncovers toilet to be cleanest area of room in number of hotels.
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