Business Storytelling

What is Business Storytelling?

Business Storytelling is a part of inbound marketing that focus on the creation of content that is emotional and easy to remember.

Using inbound marketing, businesses focus on creating trust relationships with prospects and customers. Brands create useful content that address real problems of the audience. Good content attract potential customers and create a trust relationship with the brand.

Useful content and storytelling replace pitches and slogans. Customers look for for information that allows them to solve problems or satisfy needs.

The 4 phases of inbound marketing are:
1- Attract
2- Convert
3- Close
4- Customer service and relationship

Business storytelling can be applied in all 4 phases of Inbound Marketing. For example: in blog posts, videos, podcasts, educational content, advertising, speeches, presentations, etc.

The goal of business storytelling is to create a human connection between the reader and the business. In the current business environment, almost all business are creating loads of content to attract customers. To stand out, and not blend in with the competition, storytelling needs to be compelling and emotional, and at the same time useful to the reader.

Data about a product and logic are not appealing to the emotional part of our brain. For a message to be remembered, business storytelling should appeal to emotions. For example, controversy and conflict are powerful tools to generate emotions.

reading a story

There are 3 parts of a business message:
1- What: What are you offering
2- How: How can this help you
3- Why: Why are we doing what we are doing.

The What is the analytical part of the message. The How and the Why are more powerful, because they can generate feelings and create more memorable connections.

Traditional business storytelling focused on describing the product or service of the company. The “What”. Inbound Marketing Business Storytelling focuses on the emotional part of the message, and is capable of creating memorable connections. Business Storytelling should focus on the Why and on the How. The What should be also present, but is should have less weight.

A successful example of the application of this is how Apple have become so successful using business storytelling. Their corporate philosophy and marketing strategy starts whit the Why.

Under Steve Jobs, Apple’s mission statement was “To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.” This mission focuses on the Why. Profit is the result of executing the mission. The What is relegated to a second order.

Good business storytelling should be:
- Stimulating
- Emotive
- Inspiring
- Captivating

There are some rules that good business storytelling should take into account. All stories must have certain characteristics to be successful.

Elements of good Business Storytelling are:
1- Characters
2- Conflict
3- Resolution

Characters are usually persons inside the story. Every story must have at least one character, but can have more than one.

To create meaningful characters, business storytelling should focus on the buyer persona. Buyer personas are semi fictional representation of the target customer.

Conflict create certain tension inside the story, and generate interest in the audience. Conflict is crucial to a good history.

Conflict can involve a single character (man against himself), more than one character (man against man), or a character(s) and external obstacles (man against forces greater than himself).

Usually, after the conflict is introduced into the story, there is a rising action that leads to a climax. During the climax, the action is more exciting and the conflict is starting to solve.

Every good storytelling needs to have a resolution. Storytelling should never leave the audience hanging at the climax. The resolution creates closure or fulfillment.

Inbound marketing uses business storytelling to create meaningful connections with the audience. Storytelling has become a popular method to attract a large audience and generate more leads.

The emotional part of a message is more stimulating and captivating, and is more powerful to get remembered.

The focus has shift from the ‘What’ to the ‘Why’ and the ‘How’, because the the ‘Why’ and the ‘How’ appeal to the emotional part of the brain.

Visual Storytelling

As countless studies have shown, visual content helps improve engagement and retention. Visuals can make complex data more appealing and understandable. Whenever possible, you should use visual storytelling as part of your business storytelling. By visuals I mean not only images but also videos and slideshow presentations.

Aesthetics play a fundamental role in making presentations more appealing. If you are designing your presentation, check out these awesome presentation ideas for inspiration.


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