The world of business might not seem like an obvious forum for the telling of stories.
After all, story-telling implies fiction and also down-time and relaxation — entrepreneurship on the other hand is so often about the bottom line and facts and figures.
The ability to tell stories however offers many practical advantages when it comes to doing business. So, how crafting a narrative help you get ahead in business?
What is story-telling in business?
We will all have had times when we’ve lost ourselves in a good story, but when we are looking at the business world, story-telling takes on a slightly different meaning. Nevertheless, telling a story about your business is a key means of communicating what you’re trying to achieve and why, both to customers, investors and staff.
Sharing the experiences behind your business and building a narrative around your brand makes you appear more personal and easier to connect with. This can be used in both positive and negative ways but remains part of the foundation for the success of a business.
The human drive towards stories
Humanity, as far as we know, is the only species with the ability to tell stories. We are fundamentally narrative creatures who understand the world, and our lives, as progressing through time with a beginning, middle and an end. Yuval Noah Harari says it is this in-built attachment to narrative that sets us apart from other animals, allowing us to speak about things in the past and future tenses, and even talking about things which aren’t necessarily real. Human beings are driven to use the gift of language to tell stories and it follows that businesses aiming to engage people should present a compelling story.
Whether commenting on current events and the world we live in, or creating an idealised vision to bring comfort, the stories companies tell can reshape the consumer landscape and inspire love and loyalty.
The ability to tell a compelling story has been a much-revered skill throughout human history, and in business, it is an especially valuable talent. By creating a narrative around your company or a specific product, you can create enchantment in your potential consumers or investors.
Engaged customers can spend over 20% more than customers who are not engaged with your brand vision — and storytelling can help with that. So, we can see that a story is always going to be more interesting and inviting than numbers and facts alone.
An emotional connection
Storytelling around a product might involve talking about an instance where you needed such a product in your own life and had to go out and create it. Or it may talk about the hurdles you had to overcome to bring the product to market. These narratives not only build a human element into your business, but also let others picture themselves in your shoes, and see how such an item might improve their lives, too.
This is vital when gaining new customers, as it builds brand loyalty, fuelling growth and sales. Once that imaginative and emotional connection has been forged, people become more likely to buy-in to your brand long-term.
Whether you are hoping to increase sales with existing clients or draw in new consumers, engage customers or pitch to investors, the art of storytelling should be one of your main tools in business. The story of how your business moved from being a simple idea to a real-world thing is compelling, so, learn how to tell it. This will be the foundation of a thriving business with a faithful customer base — so begin thinking of your own narrative now.