Storytelling is a highly effective way to draw customers into your organisation, but how do you apply it in your business?
Spend a day reading a variety of newspapers. Check out a few online social communities. Listen to the radio. Watch some reality TV. What do you find? It’s likely that everything you get immersed in is geared around the idea that people are drawn to stories.
Billion dollar industries such as music, print and the web rely on storytelling to keep audiences engaged and the profits rolling in. Music is an especially powerful way of connecting people through the stories within the songs and the universal themes of love and loss explored. Even that crazy-arse frog song by Axel F breathed enough personal branding into that damn frog to get it to number one in the music charts and as a ringtone on phones the world over!
Popular stories that can be leveraged in the world of business include:
Human interest — in which the founder of a business (potentially you) shares how they overcame seemingly impossible challenges and trauma in order to reach the very pinnacle of success.
Innovation — the tale of an exciting and original new product that addresses specific customer concerns and solves their problems to improve the quality of their lives like never before (like the wider introduction of the washing machine in the 20th Century).
Love Affair — a product, service or concept that delivers such emotional impact that the people who adopt it fall head-over-heels and shout how much they love it from the rooftops! Think about the common cry from ex-PC users who have migrated to Apple: “Once you go Mac, you never go back!”
If you’re English or Australian, what I’m about to suggest here might feel particularly confronting to you. This is because the way you have been raised to do business may well place more value on cultivating a convincing ‘poker face’ rather than embracing a ‘warts and all’ approach.
Rather than give in to the fear that most business people experience when it comes to sharing snippets of their personal life with an audience, I suggest you consider being far more open about your failures as well as your success. It might feel scary to be so honest about your fallibility, but I believe it’s far more likely to draw your audience in on a deep emotional level. By contrast, the ‘poker face’ business approach keeps your audience at arm’s length, making it harder for them to see themselves in you, relate to you or engage with you and your business.
Modern generations are seeking the reassurance of connection. They want to know all about their social and professional role models (the good, the bad and the ugly) because by accepting the light and shade in others they are able to forgive and accept it in themselves. It normalises not only the emotions and secret desires that your clients are experiencing, but also demonstrates quite powerfully to them that anyone can be successful — not just the ‘perfect’ human beings who have never put a foot wrong or made a mistake.
If you — with all your talents, strengths, weaknesses, successes and failures — are willing to become the poster child for your chosen industry, you attract a huge influx of new and loyal customers who connect with you on a deeper emotional level. This is because you are the catalyst that helps them feel normal and acceptable, both to themselves and society at large.
Be willing to integrate your personal story into the history of your business and you will have a very powerful formula for seducing and converting new target markets.
Ben Angel is the author of the brand new controversial book, ‘Sleeping Your Way to The Top in Business – The Ultimate Guide to Attracting & Seducing More Customers.’ Grab your copy today by visiting www.benangel.com.au