February 27, 2017
The Power of Story
When you want to influence, organize and motivate others, there is no tool more powerful and effective than story.
Today people do not want or need more information and data. They want faith. It is faith that creates movement, not facts. People want faith in you, your company and your product. They want to actually believe your product or service is unique and perfect for them. Story is your tool to create that faith and movement needed to drive your business. Your greatest and most valuable asset as a company is your story. As an executive or as an employee you need to understand the story of your organization so that you can align your daily tasks and decisions to fit with the culture of what drives your business. Think of some of the most successful organizations you know, most likely they have a powerful story that both employees, consumers and customers can connect with. There is a reason why success is aligned with a powerful story.
Your key stakeholders don’t want another PowerPoint presentation, newsletter, or a 6 month forecast for your new product launch. They want a story that captivates and evokes emotion and thought. Having a story that employees can identify with, and customers can believe in, will create immediate influence for your brand. When stakeholders have a story that they can personally connect with, they will be loyal, flexible, adaptable and influential. Through a powerful story, you can create emotion. With emotion, you can create a movement.
People don’t buy the numbers. They purchase the story behind the numbers.
Today consumers /employees are educated and smart. They need to be treated and targeted differently than in the past. Customers want to know why they are purchasing from you and not from Supplier A or B. A company needs to clearly answer the “why” and “how” of a product/service offering in order to close a sale. A Story can answer both the why and how effectively. A good story simplifies your complex world into something that a customer can understand, and personally relate with. As a consumer, when you are able to relate to the story of a product or a brand, you are much more likely to make the purchase in confidence. Story gives people enough space so that they can think for themselves, and make their own decision (rather than being pressured and eventually pushed away). Develop your story so that it can become your competitive advantage. Make it clear so that everyone is aware of what it is.
Consumers make their own decisions: People value their own conclusions much higher than yours. People will only have faith in a story that becomes real for them. Once they have absorbed the information/data (presented in the context of your story) they will be able to make an educated decision on their conclusion based on the facts presented. When a company is able to capture their unique selling proposition through the context of a story it becomes shareable, personable and relatable.
Statistics come to life, when each market is given a face, a name, and a story.
As a company, create a story that allows your stakeholders to generate their own conclusions and allow them to investigate why you are the right fit for them. When they do choose you, you will have a loyal following that will drive sustainable growth (think Apple, Tesla, Netflix). Facts aren’t influential until they mean something for someone. Allow your story to create that connection. Everyone knows a construction company, a coffee store, a clothing retailer and a restaurant. Create a story that allows your brand to organically be shared easily. Let your story define you and create emotion behind the brand. Today, people are skeptical regarding direct advertising. However when provided with an authentic and powerful story, that they believe and find value in, they will sign on. Emotional Stories create champions and warriors for your brand.
Story Creates Effective Internal/External Communication: A true vision story can help a team and organization stay focused. So that today’s frustrations and challenges are managed in light of the promise of tomorrow (think budget cuts, M&A and salary freezes). When a corporation has a unique story that defines them, the organization will be able to navigate the short-term challenges in substitution for the long term strategy. Utilize story to navigate the bureaucratic and political turbulence often seen in large organizations. Story is designed to communicate a truth and an idea, that is bigger than the sum of the individual facts and details.
Stories are just data with a soul.
Large organizations today (Starbucks, Virgin, Facebook, Amazon, GE, Google) recognize that by developing a unique story behind a specific product or brand allows for consumers to associate a human interaction behind an otherwise impersonal brand. People are more engaged with products and companies that they are educated on who they are, where they came from, and what they are about. Challenge yourself to allow your company to have a story, so you are not just another number. Let your company become transparent through story, your stakeholders will love you for it.
What is your story? I encourage you to leverage the power of story to generate personal and professional results within your world. Educate your consumer, engage your staff, captivate new and current audiences and build your brand. Chances are, you already know what your story is. You just need a way to show it, share it and present it. By utilizing the power of story you will put life and emotion behind the data. I can guarantee this will create results and movement within your business. In an age of authenticity and transparency, story will be your greatest connection to your most loyal followers. Start today and use your story for success. Think about an upcoming challenge that is approaching (budget cuts, new sales targets, new product offerings, international growth) and put the power of story into action. Use story to create momentum and emotion to push you through. I guarantee you will find that by utilizing the power of story you will create a culture of collaboration, competition and candor.
Thanks for taking the time to read the article. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to share or send me a note: firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew is Vice President of Business Development for Agency Media Group. Andrew leads the sales and growth teams to collaboratively engage with clients, by providing innovative solutions and services to grow a company’s brand, story and bottom line. With a professional and educational background in operations management, HR, safety, business development and corporate strategy, Andrew understands first hand that story has the power to generate influence and positive change for organizations.