08 Apr Story Telling – with your story to success
Almost everyone loves stories – and almost certainly so do your customers. Why not simply take advantage of this fact? This is exactly what Story Telling recommends.
But what does it mean?
What is story telling?
Story Telling is an element of content marketing and means that you tell a story about a product or your company. You are welcome to decorate this story with pictures, videos and anything else that inspires. Your customers are not only interested in facts and figures. They want a story that touches them emotionally and that they can tell others. Story telling is all about stimulating your customers emotionally, getting their attention, making them laugh or think, making them curious and thus making them want more.
Why you should become a storyteller
If you are now wondering whether this is really necessary, we can only give you examples such as Coca-Cola, IKEA or Edeka, who tell wonderful stories and are very successful in distinguishing themselves from their competitors. Especially in times of absolute stimulus satiation and the innumerable pieces of information that come pouring in on consumers, you would do well to stand out from the crowd. As a result, you will be remembered by your customers for a long time. And that’s exactly what you can do with Story Telling.
But why is it that stories are so well suited for this? Psychology assumes that people use stories to explain their own identity and their environment. The American professor of psychology Dan McAdams describes stories as identity-giving tools to help people get to know themselves better and to convey a coherent picture of themselves to their environment. He even goes so far as to say that storytellers are generally more successful .
Stories therefore have a very fundamental use and they therefore represent a firmly established pattern of thought of us humans. On the one hand they have a learning effect and on the other hand emotions are addressed and released. We have already explained in detail why emotions are important for your business success in the article on neuromarketing. Story Telling is exactly about touching your (potential) customers emotionally with stories. Your company or your product should be linked to strong positive emotions and ultimately lead to a purchase and create long-term customer loyalty. A prerequisite for this is also that your customers can identify with your image – and you can also create and influence this significantly by means of a story.
Let us summarize again:
- generates attention.
- appeals to the emotions of your customers – and people love stories.
- creates identity.
- creates customer loyalty.
We think these are all good reasons to try out story telling.
Before you get started, answer the following questions:
- What problems do my potential customers have and what challenges do you face?
- What solution can I offer them?
- How does my product/service stand out from the competition?
Based on these answers you have already laid the foundation for your story.
Step by step to your own story
In order to tell your own story, with which you attract the attention of your customers and establish a bond, the following procedure is recommended:
1. Define the goal
At the beginning you should ask yourself why you want to create a story at all. What is your goal? What exactly do you want to achieve with your story? And very important: what message do you want to convey? What is the reason for your story, so to speak? By asking these questions, you can make sure that your story has the right content and storyline, and that your intention remains in focus. Come back to this point regularly to directly remove any superfluous elements – or to recognize if you find yourself going astray when telling your story.
2. Define your target group
Who are you telling your story for? Depending on your target audience, you will tell a different story, adapt the way you communicate and of course choose the channels through which you will eventually spread the story.
3. Determine the type of story
What kind of story you tell depends largely on the goal and the target group. Would you like to tell a true story from the perspective of a customer or employee? For example about the experience with your product or your company? Or even the story of your company? Or would it be a good idea to focus on the story of a product – from the idea to the development? Or would you rather create a fictional story about your product or company? Whether real or fictional – stay authentic and make sure that the story fits your brand and values. Otherwise, you run the risk of your story telling being artificial and lacking credibility.
4. Determine the plot
Theoretically there are countless possibilities. However, a few have been established, which will create a familiar feeling with your customers – which is definitely an advantage.
The following sequences of action are the most common:
- solve a problem or defeat a „monster
- from rags to riches
- be traveling
- a comedy
- a tragedy
The individual events in your story must be logically connected. This is the only way to create an exciting plot that your audience can follow.
5. Who is your hero?
Every good story needs a hero. This hero should also fit to your company and your product. Don’t let your own brand play the hero – it looks too flat and promotional. Your protagonist can be real people as well as fictional characters. It is important that they either reflect your target group – keyword: identification -, or are at least of interest to your target group. Animals are also very popular, as they can be extremely emotional – provided that your target group likes animals.
6. The course of your story
Your story should make sense, have a goal and contain a few details – but only as many as are necessary to tell it in an understandable and emotional way. Every good story has a recognizable sequence – beginning, middle, end. In simple terms you could say: the story begins, then a problem arises, a solution to the problem is found, the story ends.
First, your hero is introduced and at the same time the problem is described. In the attempt to solve the problem, the protagonist has to overcome some obstacles. The events come to a head – we come to the climax of the story. This must not be missing in any case. In the end your hero can solve the problem. You can surprise your customers, create an aha effect – make sure that your customer doesn’t regret spending time with your story. Try to leave a positive feeling so that the customer associates it with your company and product.
7. Choosing the right channels
Through which channels should your story be disseminated? Creating a story is of course not enough. You have to get it out there. Ideally, your target group will even share your story themselves – using social media, this will be a sure thing. It depends on the medium you use to tell the story and the channel you use. Are you making a film? Are you writing a text? Do you work with images? Then it also depends on which channels you use to spread your story. Whether it’s social networks, a customer magazine, a newsletter, your own website or the company blog – the choice of channels also depends very much on your target group.
No matter what story you are telling, consider the following points:
- Don’t give a long introduction, but immerse yourself directly in the story. In this way you pick up your audience directly and capture their attention.
- At least one of the following two emotions should be present in your story: Joy or surprise – or both, of course. This way your story has the best chance of being shared.
- Avoid excessive branding. Discreet references to your company may of course be integrated, but avoid a huge logo or similar.
Stories are ideal for activating, emotionalising, inspiring and retaining your customers. In this way you can reach your customers more easily and imprint yourself more deeply in their memory. Your customers can become real fans through successful story telling. It can be said that although customers are looking for a product or service, they end up buying the story.
 Textschorle: Interview: Professor Dan McAdams erzählt die Geschichte der narrativen Psychologie (2014)