Almost all human beings love stories. Stories can be entertaining and educational at the same time. It is for this reason that storytelling has continued in use for centuries and has been adopted in most areas of life. With each moment we live and every experience, a story is created or developed. The same applies to the business world. With each day they create memories for themselves and for their customers and everyone else who benefits from the business in one way or another. Businesses then use these stories and also craft new ones to create and maintain good working relationships with their publics and make themselves known.
Communication in businesses targets mostly customers, the community in which it operates, employees, shareholders, and others. Due to these clear differences in the publics they deal with, storytelling in business is in different forms and is used for various purposes. However, the ultimate goal is to remain in good books with stakeholders and make profits. Just like in any other form of communication, it is important for businesses to know the proper stories to tell for each of their targets. On the other hand, some of these stories are not told by the business itself as will be shown below.
Here are some of the reasons why storytelling is valued in businesses;
Presentations – storytelling in presentations is common in the business world. The increase in use has been attributed to the fact that our brains are hardwired for narrative. This is because stories make it easier to understand facts when narratives are used to shed light upon them. Stories put us in an atmosphere where it feels as if we are living or experiencing the story in person which makes it easier for audiences to memorize details that appeal to them. Also, stories keep the audience entertained which helps them stay focused while they also help the presenter connect with the audience and appeal to their emotions. Thus, storytelling in business presentations helps the audience understand a message better and also imprints it in their minds.
Partners – whether a business is seeking to partner with a community or another business, the stories it uses to portray itself as well as the stories shared by those who have worked with it before determine if the partnerships will materialize. More often, the decision by a community or business to engage in a partnership depends on the potential partner’s success stories as well as its image. Therefore a business seeking to get into a partnership must be ready to tell compelling stories especially those that connect with who the potential partner really is and reflects their beliefs.
Marketing – businesses require quality storytelling to attract new customers or retain and engage current ones. Good marketing stories communicate a clear message that helps the customers understand why they should care about a product or brand. Some of the most loved and shared business marketing stories are those the audience can relate with. The other advantage of a good marketing story is that the business does not need to do much as potential customers are most likely to share the story voluntarily while others will go out of their way to look for it. Some businesses have ruined the impact of storytelling in marketing. The reason? It has become obvious that some of the models fake their stories for the sake of selling the product. Gone are the days when consumers would see a product and adopt it based on the story told by someone who was hired by the business.
Publicity – to publicize products and services, businesses hold press conferences to share their story and information with the media and other stakeholders. The business then issues a press statement where they tell their story and give further information on the business and its products or services. This statement together with how the business presented itself in the press conference is then used by different media houses to write and share its story. In other words, businesses tell their stories to media houses and later develops the story in a way that suits their readers and listener. Press conferences and storytelling are also used when a business is dealing with a crisis and needs to tell its side of the story.
Conscientizing or training stuff – good stories engage better and can give a clearer view of why things need to be done and, in a particular way. Storytelling is used by businesses in this manner to raise awareness and train staff members.
Word-of-mouth – this is the type of marketing that is enjoyed by companies that satisfy their customers and is threatening for companies that are not doing well. Word-of-mouth is whereby customers discuss or share about the services and products of a business or its other dealings as part of their usual conversations. The stories customers tell about a business are more important than the ones the business tells about itself because customers find other users’ experiences more compelling. Stories by the businesses itself are sometimes considered to be nothing more than just attempts to sell.