Storytelling is as ancient as human existence. It is an integral part of who we are, our nature. Stories are how we passed (and still pass) knowledge from one person to another, long before other forms like pictures (art) and writing were developed. It is the earliest human means of passing knowledge and information – before we developed imagery, text and other communication styles.
One thing the human mind cannot resist is a great story well told. We are wired to love a good story. In fact, neuroscience has repeatedly proven that we are born with narrative minds. Our minds function through narratives. And those narratives govern our lives, especially those we create for ourselves. That is, what you do and don’t do, every day, simply follow a script in your own mind. And until that script is altered, your life’s course will never deviate from it – that’s how powerfully our minds are set in storytelling.
According to Carmine Gallo, “Storytelling isn’t something we do; storytelling makes us who we are.” I couldn’t agree less! You see, every human being is a storyteller. You too. Yes, you are! We tell our friends of interesting movies we watched. We tell our spouses an experience we had at work or sometime in the past. We use stories and analogies to buttress our points when we speak… We are all storytellers.
Now, the problem is that most people haven’t learned how to use this all-powerful human ability to sell their brand (personal or business), products or services. Let me put it straight to you: if you aren’t telling captivating stories, especially as a business, you’re leaving plenty money on the table for any of your competitors who is telling theirs. Why? Because the human mind loves stories and is instantly connected to a good one on a personal level. Good stories breed emotional connection, at which point action is inevitable. The logic is simple: when I like you, I will buy from you. Stories are the easiest way to make me like you. Really.
So, how can you tell great and captivating stories to sell your brand? I’ll show you how in 5 simple steps.
1. Find Your Hero
Think of the hero as the protagonist of your story – what we commonly call ‘the actor’ in Nigerian parlance. If personal, you should be the hero in your stories. But in your business stories, the hero should be your customer. Tell your stories in ways that your customers see themselves in the plot. It’s like watching a movie and feeling like they’re acting about your life. That elicits near-instant connection, like love at first sight.
This requires knowing who your customer is and what they want.
2. Describe the Villain
This is the antagonist – the ‘bad guy’. In this case, that would be the problem confronting your customer, their frustration that you can solve. Their pain, worries, challenges.
3. Introduce the Compass
Here, you show that you have just the solution they need to win against their villain. You, your product or service are the guide, the solution they need.
In every good movie, the protagonist always gets help to overcome the enemy. Be the help your customers need, not the hero of the story. There’s only one hero – your customer.
4. Tell the Drama
Show the possibilities your solution promises. What will happen when they apply your solution? Show them, not tell. Show with your story. Remember that every customer is most interested in the benefits of your offer, not its features, so show them how your solution will solve their problem.
5. Show the Result
This is the final outcome, the happy ending where the problem has been satisfactorily dealt with. This is why most good TV commercials end with people smiling, satisfied with the outcome.
In conclusion, in closing his 2017 TEDxStockholm speech, David JP Phillips said, “100,000 years ago we started developing our language. It’s sound to say we started using storytelling to transfer knowledge from generation to generation. 27,000 years ago we started transferring knowledge from generation to generation through cave paintings. 3,500 years ago we started transferring knowledge from generation to generation through text. 28 years ago PowerPoint was born. Which one do you think our brain is mostly adapted to?”
I’ll leave you to answer.