Stories connect viscerally, on a human level (download our template here to get started).
Here is an example:
Imagine I give you a list of words, something like this:
- Unhappy woman
- Mean people
- Shoe sizes
- Getting even
And ask you to remember and internalize them, perhaps even to act on them.
For you to take any action at all, or even understand these words, your brain has to do work.
Most people won’t bother to do the work to understand - work takes energy and humans are wired to save energy not expend it on lists of random words and facts.
It may seem self-evident that understanding these words is a waste of time. Yet, often in business, this is our approach to communicating what we do and why our market should care.
We bombard our potential clients with facts and figures, past successes the details of our products or services and any other proof we can throw at them.
The standard strategy is the more proof we can provide, the more likely they are to want to do business with us.
Take a look now at your website: could a random visitor understand the problem you solve, for whom you solve it and how to get started within eight seconds?
This matters because you only have 8 seconds to engage your audience.
Do you have a lot of text and proof that your readers have to piece together to make a cohesive whole?
The strategy of providing reams of information is ineffective because just like the list above, it forces our potential client to do the work.
They have to figure out how the pieces fit together and what it means to them.
But there is a better way: tell a story.
By mentioning one word, Cinderella, the words above all come together as a cohesive whole. They make sense, and your brain doesn’t have to do any work – you just get it. You can probably recite the story even if you haven’t thought of it in years.
Stories connect on a visceral rather than intellectual level. They speak to something deep in our DNA.
Daniel Siegel, professor of psychiatry at UCLA put it this way:
"Storytelling is an integrative process… Research shows that we remember details of things much more effectively when they are embedded in a story. Telling and being moved to action by them is in our DNA."
Storytelling is just as effective in business as in fairy tales.
When you tie what you do together as a story, you stop convincing people and start connecting with them. Just like the list of words above make sense when you understand the Cinderella relationship your offering makes sense when you use a story to bring it together.
Your potential client doesn’t need to do the work to understand what you do they just get it.
That is the power of storytelling. And fortunately, it isn’t that hard to put in practice.
Humans have been honing the story for millennia, and there is a natural formula that you can use right now to improve your marketing today.
You can follow our seven-step template to craft your story immediately: Download it here.
And think about registering for our workshop where we teach you to craft your brand story and use it effectively. And, since you are doing this with others you get immediate market feedback. You can read more about our workshop here.
Take steps today to take the puzzle out of your marketing, start telling a story instead.