In 2009, a journalist, Rob Walker, wanted to find out the power of storytelling so he decided to conduct a study and named it as ‘Significant object study’. He went on eBay bought 200 items with an average price of $1. He further contacted writers and asked them to be a part of the study and write a story for each object. 200 authors said ‘yes’. He went on eBay again to sell the objects, he anticipated a difference but he was shocked to see the results. The 200 objects bought for $129 were sold at $8000 when the story was added to it.
“Stories are the single most powerful weapon in a leader’s arsenal” – Howard Gardner
When we talk about a story, we not only talk about a particular event. It is a combination of emotions, lesson learned, impacts, experiences and some really beautiful moments. Here are 4 reasons why every entrepreneur and marketer should add storytelling to their skill set:
1. Storytelling works for everyone, all you need is significant knowledge about your audience:
While most businesses are busy spending a huge amount of money on marketing strategies. One thing they miss out on is that storytelling is the cheapest and one of the most effective marketing strategies as it only involves imagination, time and creativity.
Remember Dove’s ‘Real Beauty Campaign’ where they used Real women instead of supermodels. What’s more relatable than everyday people? The tagline of the campaign was “Imagine the world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety”. This is so apt given the current scenario of beauty standards.
2. People remember the story more than the brand name.
An emotional connection cannot be overlooked if you are trying to solve a problem.
Some of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns have a success rate of 200%. Not because of the necessity for the product but because of the story and the ability to connect with people on the emotional level. People might not remember the name of the person who started the campaign but they will remember the story and how it made them feel.
3. Stories create experiences and strengthen relationships.
One of my favorite example of stories creating experience is Coca Cola’s “Share a Coke Campaign”. It wasn’t about telling people the story but about letting people create their own stories and experiences. It prompted consumers to participate and create online media content.
Storytelling as a marketing tactic creates a lasting impact on those who come in contact with you and your story. It creates connection deeper than standard marketing strategies.
4. Stories portray your brand value and are more likely to be shared.
Brands that create social conversation are far more effective. Good stories make a difference in the way the audience perceives your brand.
Remember, Skittles campaign to support LGBT community. It states: “During PRIDE only one rainbow matters. So we have given up ours to show our support”. It reflects the brand value and is more likely to be remembered and shared.
5. Storytelling lets your brand be the protagonist of your story.
When you tell the story, you make sure that your brand is linked to your story in a natural way. Even if the story involves your clients’ experiences the message gives the image of how your brand has helped the client.
This is how Kickstarter and Indiegogo have been telling their story, they survive by making their customer story their own story and have been really successful in doing so. They help other businesses to grow and share their experience to help them grow.
6. It not only works for customers or clients, storytelling is powerful for employees too.
Ritz-Carlton group has been doing this for quite some time and in return, they have raised their standard of customer experience. In Ritz Carlton hotel every department meets for a department meeting of 15-20 mins and every employee is asked to share a great customer experience they have been a part of or any experience that they would like to share with the rest of the group and they get recognized publicly.
Here are the things that happen on doing so: it motivates employees to look forward to more such experiences and the employee gets recognized publicly for being the hero in their client’s story. Thus, leading to better customer experience too.
According to David JP Philips, when you listen to astory, the following effects take place:
– You are more focused.
– You are more motivated.
– You remember things in a much better way.
Telling story isn’t complicated but you have to start. Find your story and share it.
Here’s to great storytelling!