You want to know this is why storytelling is important in business?
You’re launching a new product in your local market; a brand of cashew nuts that have been ethically sourced from Africa.
They taste great, they’re super healthy, and of course they’re ethically sourced as well.
But they’re noticeably more expensive than other brands of cashew nuts.
If you place your cashew nuts on supermarket shelves next to competing products, the only thing that’s different is your higher price. That’s not good for business.
And herein lies the challenge every business must address; how do we stand out from the competition?
This is where storytelling becomes important in business.
Relate to Your Customer’s Story
Storytelling in business is not just about telling stories. It’s also about understanding the stories your customers are driven by.
If you sell to your average supermarket, then you’re going to get all sorts of customers with all sorts of stories.
Some believe health is important. They’re going to be driven by finding the healthiest products on the shelf.
Others believe budget is important. They’re going to be driven by finding the cheapest products.
There may even be some who believe ethics are important when it comes to food. And they’re going to be driven by finding ethically sourced products, like yours.
But appealing to so many different customers with so many different types of stories is not an effective strategy.
It’s much more practical to consider the customer stories your product is most likely to appeal to, and focus just on those.
Your product tastes great, it’s super healthy and it’s ethically sourced from Africa. Who would care about that?
High end supermarkets? Health food stores? Hospitality businesses with an interest in ethically sourced food? Hospitality businesses with a connection to Africa?
It’s a waste of energy trying to appeal to everyone. Focus your business on appealing to customers whose stories match yours, and you will find success comes a lot easier.
Show, Don’t Tell
Another reason storytelling is important in business is because it makes your products easier to understand.
You have a lot of confidence in your ethically sourced Cashew Nuts. Because, after all, they’re AA Grade, 180 size and SALSA Accredited.
These are all great things. But there’s a problem.
Your customers don’t understand what these details mean. They don’t have a background in this industry, so these terms are like a foreign language to them.
But a simple principle from storytelling can help; show, don’t tell.
Showing is about engaging the senses, instead of the intellect. Physically show them what these things mean. Let them experience it for themselves.
Don’t tell them what AA Grade is. Show them instead. Let them taste the difference and show them what other people have said when they taste the difference.
Don’t tell them what 180 size is. Show them instead. Show them the 180 size compared to other sizes.
Don’t tell them what SALSA Accredited means. Show them. Show them pictures and videos of the thorough safety procedures you have to meet to qualify for this accreditation, and how most companies fail.
Showing, instead of telling, bridges communication gaps in business. It helps people immediately, and easily grasp the idea you are trying to communicate.
Tell Stories about Real People
And one final reason storytelling is important in business is because by telling stories about real people, you appeal to customers who care about those stories and those people.
Your Cashew Nuts are ethically sourced from Africa. There’s a lot of stories to tell here.
Firstly is the story of the farmers growing these cashew nuts, the life they live and the ways they farm these nuts. Even the story of how they started farming these nuts.
Maybe some of your customers grew up in that region, and miss it greatly. Maybe some have an attachment to traditional farming stories. Maybe some can relate to the story of why they started growing cashew nuts.
Secondly, is the story of you, the founder of this business. What drove you to source these cashew nuts? How did you discover them? What is your connection to Africa?
Maybe some of your customers share your values and can relate to your reasoning for starting this business.
Thirdly, is the story of your customers. Which customers have really appreciated your cashew nuts? Why do they keep buying them?
When potential customers read such stories, they will see greater reasons to buy your product.
There are stories to be collected everywhere we look. All we have to do is notice.
But what’s most important in storytelling, especially storytelling in business, is that your story is about people.
People have feelings and beliefs and motivations. As your audience listens to the story, they notice feelings and beliefs and motivations they have in common with the people in the story. This causes empathy, and ultimately an emotional reaction.
Why Storytelling is Important in Business
Business, at the end of the day, is not about the numbers, it’s about people. The numbers only ever reflect the people.
People are driven by their feelings, beliefs and motivations, and storytelling in business can have a huge impact on their feelings, beliefs and motivations.
By relating to people whose stories match most closely with the story of our business, we focus our energy on the right people.
By showing and not telling, we make our products and all their technical specifications so much easier to understand.
And by telling stories about real people, we connect with our customers and move them emotionally.
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