In the last Story Gem blog, we explored why storytelling works in business. This week, let’s look at the business stories you can tell about your organisation and how best to ensure that they hit the spot, surprising and delighting your audience.
Recognise the Business Stories You’re Telling
The first thing to recognise is that you are already telling stories about your business as you go about your work on a daily basis, whether you realise it or not. If you aren’t aware that you’re doing this, it’s time to tune into what you are saying in your text-based communications, in conversations and through your actions.
A simple email, or a quick exchange over a coffee at an event is a chance for you to introduce elements of your brand message. Used unconsciously, we could easily turn a valuable opportunity into a rant about bad traffic, what a crazy day we have ahead, or any other number of stories that will turn the other person off.
As daunting as it may sound, every time we put pen to paper, or open our mouth as business owners or marketers, we give our existing and potential clients a glimpse into our mindset and the mindset of our business. We, alone, are the gatekeepers of what we say about ourselves and we need to choose wisely.
Observe what you say, and might be saying subconsciously, about your business over the next week. Identify what messages are ones that serve you and your audience, and which do not. Decide to focus on the former and cut the latter.
Focus on Telling the Right Business Stories
As we were exploring last time, storytelling works in business because it connects on a personal, emotional level. However, we need to choose where to land the emotional connection. We can connect with others around the atrocious traffic on College Green of late, but that’s not going to do much for your business, unless of course you work in the transport sector or happen to be based in that geographical area. What’s more, you need to be sure that your audience shares that pain-point, if they don’t you may gain a reputation as a Moaning Minnie.
Stories that are worth focussing on are ones that correspond to how your brand message relates to your audience. Your brand message is the essence of who you are as a business – your vision, your mission and your values. These elements are key to what you do as a business and relate to your own goals for business success, but more importantly, they are emotional hooks which your customers can take hold of and develop personal identification with.
Consider some of the following mission statements from well-known brands and see if they help you to identify with the company on some level.
Airbnb: ‘Founded in 2008, Airbnb’s mission is to create a world where people can belong when they travel by being connected to local cultures and having unique travel experiences.’
Headspace: ‘Headspace has one mission: to improve the health and happiness of the world.’
Starbucks: To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time.’
These are some pretty big statements. Belonging, a need central to all of us as human beings, health, happiness and inspiration – these are values most of us would find difficult to argue with. Sure, when we dig around in these companies and people’s experience of them, we may find experiences or stories that don’t match up with their mission statement – but, their mission statement is a key part of their intention as a business. They intend to do good – and I’m sure you do too, it’s a good place to start when identifying good business stories for your organisation.
What is your big, lofty statement about how your business helps create a better world? When you have this down to a tee, you can expand off it in many ways.
Think about the following points when considering stories that will work for you (and your audience):
- What makes your business different?
- How do you solve people’s problems?
- In what ways are you making a difference in the world?
- What drives you or makes you passionate about what you do?
- How did your business start?
- What are the fun, quirky, or exciting elements of your business that will grab your audience’s attention?
Remember, when you’re telling a story, whether on paper or in person, it’s not all about you. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes, what would you like to hear about if you were them? Strive to add value to your audience when you tell stories in your business and you will be headed in the right direction.
We hope you enjoyed this post. If you are keen to connect with your audience on a more meaningful basis, talk to Story Gem today about how our content writing service can help your business.