The Power of Storytelling in Business
By Paula Morand
I like stir-fries, so I always have soy sauce in my kitchen. Most of the time it is Kikkoman.
I started buying it because it occupied a lot of the shelf space at my local grocery store, not because I particularly cared for one brand over the other.
Then one day I was studying some of the best branding efforts and I was directed to Kikkoman’s brand film called “Make Haste Slowly.” Directed by Lucy Walker, an award-winning documentary maker, it focused on the history of soy sauce and opened with this arresting line:
“It was started by a woman in a time when women didn’t start companies.”
How could I not keep watching?
Gradually it told the corporate story and since then, I buy it as an emotional decision, even though I couldn’t honestly tell you if it is better or worse than some of the other brands standing beside it.
What Kikkoman did is what marketers today term “backstorytelling.”
This means telling the history of your company in a way to engage your customers and help them build an emotional connection to you.
There is a school of thought that suggests consumers will only buy the lowest product, but we know that is not true. Consumers will also be loyal to brands they feel related to, connected to, and emotionally invested in.
Many of the clients I work with every day have amazing stories about how they started their companies. Very few start with: “One day I thought I’d go into business and so I did.” Instead they are stories of survival, or exploration, or triumph and courage.
These are the stories that need to be told on your websites, in your corporate literature, on tours of your facility and even by yourself as you open your presentations. If you have a great back story to your company, don’t hide it and wait until the question-and-answer period at the end to share it.
We live in a highly impersonal world where products are lined up against other products, where experts are swimming in a pool with other experts, where artists and writers are creating in a swirling circle of thought.
If you want to be pulled out and look different enough and engaging enough to be select, tell the best story. Humanize your brand. You will be surprised at how it distinguishes you from the others.
How can you get started?
First, consider what your real founding story is. Is it interesting? Is it something people can relate to or be intrigued by? If it is, find ways to tell it at every opportunity.
Share it with new employees as part of your onboarding process. Use it when your CEO gives public addresses. Include it on your website and in your corporate literature. Make sure your sales team knows and understands it.
Paula Morand is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold leadership expert and brand strategist brings her vibrant energy, humor and wisdom to ignite individuals, organizations and communities to lead change, growth and impact in a more bold fashion.
24 years, 27,000 clients, 34 countries, 15 books, former radio personality, 11x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee. Check out Paula’s bestselling books on Amazon: “Bold Courage: How Owning Your Awesome Changes Everything”, “Dreaming BIG and Being BOLD: Inspiring stories from Trailblazers, Visionaries and Change Makers” book series; and her newest book “Bold Vision: A Leader’s Playbook for Managing Growth”.
For speaking inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll-free 1-888-502-6317.