What’s so special in story lines that we were taught in schools? Not only because it has been repeated a thousand times at school but because it hides a different way of telling stories called storytelling.
A 21st-Century Invention?
Not at all, storytelling, the art of telling stories to attract the client, is as old as humanity itself. From the troubadours of the Middle Ages to the Halakah of Morocco they were masters of storytelling. But what has happened? Why has it become fashionable?
Distant speeches, cumbersome documents, soulless press releases, corporate videos that add nothing… In many companies’ communication, a too formal style prevails that is boring and, most importantly, does not capture the customer’s attention.
The companies have realized that their old marketing or technological discourse is not permeating the clients. The Attention Economy requires storytelling to be a discordant note.
Digitization has also changed the way the company relates to the customer. The disruption of social networks and the conversion of the consumer into a producer of content and opinions have made companies or brands have to change their attitude towards the market.
Before they could ‘let themselves be loved’ by the consumer, now, instead, they need to fall in love, and therefore they need to perfect the art of storytelling.
But won’t these stories make the content less credible? This is the big problem that companies face. The secret to making it credible is that the story is honest, transparent, real, and close. But also adapted to our audience.
If it is a “formal” audience, we must use a language and content very different from those that we would use with a more relaxed audience. Although the tone of the speech does not matter if we manage to connect with our consumer.
The advantages of using this technique in your business communication are notorious. Storytelling makes brands unique and easily identifiable in the consumer’s mind, differentiating them from the competition and creating a strong link between them.
But this business-client bond needs an emotional charge to enhance it. When they tell us a story, the message is not only aimed at the rational, but also emotional feelings.
The drama makes us cry and the comedy laugh, these kinds of sensations are very powerful if the company knows how to use them to their advantage.
Techniques For Storytelling
Personalize the stories: If it is with first and last names, the more you empathize with the client. Human beings pay attention to other human beings.
Humanizing your company’s communication is key to attracting the customer. In all the stories, as complicated as they may be, you can include people who bring your content to life.
“I’m going to tell you a story”: It is one of the best ways to start a speech. Steve Jobs gave a famous talk at Stanford University where instead of talking about technology, he started his talk saying: I am going to tell you three personal stories.
And through these three stories, he told what Apple was and its philosophy of creating innovative products.
Warren Buffett Method: Did you know the very friendly Berkshire Hathaway CEO? He is considered one of the best investors in the world.
Each year he writes a letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders in a different style than other entrepreneurs. Buffett tells his vision of how the year has been from a very personal and colloquial point of view.
He even recounts the times he has been wrong, which no Ibex-35 company president would do in the corporate memory. He is not afraid. But he always gives his shareholders a very optimistic vision of the future. That is why it is the most reproduced letter to the shareholder in history.
Study your client: To attract the client with storytelling, you first have to know the client, your target very well, identifies behaviors, aspirations, wishes… and then build a story with which they can feel identified and with which they generate a bond emotionally.
If we make the customer fall in love with the history of our brand or product, they will no longer forget us.
Best Presentation: How about PowerPoint presentations? Title, an index that illustrates all the sections of the content and then a string of slides with a lot of text.
Do you follow this model? It is the most general way of presenting a presentation and it is wrong.
This will end up boring the staff. It is best to use an inductive method, to go from the particular to the general. Start with a personal story that captivates guests.
Skip the indexes; include questions and images or videos that attract the listener’s attention. A good example of all this is the famous TEDx talks. They have become very popular. The speakers tell complex things, but that through storytelling is much better understood.
The mirror of cinema: Jaime Bartolome is a screenwriter, but the emergence of storytelling in the business world has led this writer to advise companies to re-launch their communication.
French realism of the 19th century has gone down in history. The client wants action from the first moment. Cinema has changed the way of receiving information. Every movie starts with an exciting sequence that captivates the viewer, doesn’t wait halfway through the movie for Miss Bovary to do something impressive.
The same has to happen in business communication. Storytelling copies that feeling of cinema to hook the viewer. You have to use certain tools such as suspense or create questions and then give the answer.
The data is boring … Our Company has invoiced 10 million Euros last year and we have managed to reduce the debt by 10%. Can you imagine listening to economic results for an hour? It can be a real nightmare.
Although the figures are necessary to add seriousness and veracity to your content, the way of exposing the data should be more visual. Use comparisons that allow you to convert pure data into visualizable quantities and that are better assimilated from a cognitive point of view.
For example, Tesla has the world’s largest car factory at 1.6 million square meters.
This data by itself does not say anything, but if we add that the factory can fit 20 Egyptian pyramids, it is already different, because you visualize it.