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Listen Up! I’ve Got a Story for You…

Storytelling can be found throughout history and in every culture around the world. The art of storytelling is certainly not new and has been used to recite the tales of great heroes or villains. Storytelling has been used to shape and redefine events in order to persuade and change possible outcomes in history.

Power Up Persuasion

When you think about storytelling, don’t think in terms of “once upon a time” but instead what story you’re trying to communicate. When you think about presenting your brand to the marketplace or the 110-page report you just developed after weeks of research, you need to think about your audience and how your presentation, whether it’s a TV commercial or PowerPoint, will it persuade and motivate them. Persuasion requires that we distinguish our message from other messages to which our audience is being exposed, provide them with information they are unable to get elsewhere and do it in a meaningful way.

Great business leaders such as Steve Jobs or Jack Welch understood how to use stories when talking about their companies or products. Advertising also embraces the idea and impact of storytelling. Think of the conquering heroes of the Red Bull “Got Wings” commercials or how an entire generation embraced Pepsi.

There are lots of ways to approach telling your story. It doesn’t matter if it’s a movie, play, book or the presentation to the board — keep it simple and focused.

What Does Your Story Say About Your Brand?

Every one of us is impacted by the stories told by brands. In fact, we each make brand/product choices hundreds of times each day. In most cases, we don’t even think about it. While the reasons we make those choices vary, brand choice is always a part of our decision process. What does the brand stand for, and what is its story?

Think of Coke, Pepsi, Chevy, Volvo and Virgin America, for example. I’d be surprised if every one of their stories didn’t pop into your mind, regardless of how you feel about the brand.

The goal for the brands you represent is for it to become an integral part of your customers’ personal or business lives. If the story your brand tells fits into their lives and provides them with a solution to their needs, then you have customers for life.

Build Sentiment or Bust

However, a story that is not relevant and means nothing to your audience will lose audience engagement. Your job is to make sure your audience cares about the story you’re telling.

From the beginning of man to our current digital age, storytelling has been an important aspect of life. As the cave man stood in front of the fire pointing and grunting to tell the story of his hunt, to the executive at the local watering hole after work telling her colleagues about the killer presentation she made to the CEO, storytelling has and will continue to be an important part of who we are, both personally and professionally.

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