It all starts with a story!

Have you ever thought about which conversations get shared? How about the things you talk about and share with your friends and family? Chances are good that the conversations that you remember and share most often are those that involve a story. Why is that the case? With thanks to the good folks at Story Worldwide, let’s look at six reasons for stories that many marketers frequently overlook or seem to take for granted.

Stories 1Experiences leave lasting impressions. They go far deeper than facts, figures or features. And by creating a story-based experience, we cause our audiences to walk away with an impression of our brand that sits deep in their hearts. 

stories 2

Stories reveal what makes your message unique and different. In today’s business environment success generates copycats and innovation is short lived. What can’t be copied is who you are – your unique identity and your story. Where did your brand come from? Why does your business exist? The way you share these stories is what helps to set you apart from the competition.

stories 3Stories are the emotional glue that connects us to our customers. If it weren’t for stories, our brands would mean less to our audiences. Just as with a true commodity – purchase decisions are reduced to convenience and price. It’s our stories that create real connections. The best stories are those that others tell about our brands. Like glue, the more surface a story covers – the more widely it is spread – the better it tends to stick!

stories 4Stories reshape information into meaning. Have you listened to the conversations of your number crunching colleagues? There’s little that is more mind numbing than data driven reports and conversations loaded with facts and figures. Anyone can recite numbers to an audience. But just clay is carefully shaped and molded into useful and meaningful pottery, the best brands will weave a stories around the information to create meaning and value for their audience.

stories 5Stories are more likely to be shared. It’s probably been awhile since you heard from a friend about a great new product feature or a discounted price. But stories of remarkable service, awesome experiences, and unexpected benefits get shared every day. This has only been enhanced by social media. When a story resonates – moves people emotionally – they retell it many times over and amplify the message.

stories 6Stories are less likely to be resisted. When people know they’re being marketed to, they tend to stop listening. 3 out of 4 consumers say they no longer trust the messages in brand advertising. Consequently, they don’t have 30 seconds to be interrupted. On the other hand, when being told a relevant and timely story, the same consumers make time to listen with openness and genuine interest. The story a friend tells about an experience with your brand is far more believable and sharable.

So… What’s your story? And is anyone telling it for you?  Learn more about the value of content and storytelling at the 2013 WOMMA Summit in Nashville - November 18-20, 2013. Hope to see you there!

 

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The Fine Print

Rod Brooks (that's me) is VP & CMO of PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company and serves as Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Directors for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA).  It's important to disclose both of those relationships and to be clear that this is my personal blog where I share thoughts and opinions that are solely my own.  Contact me!

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