Be Memorable by Telling Your Story
Can you remember how the story of how Cinderella lost her slippers? How about a more complicated story, like the one in Sleepless in Seattle or the ending of Romeo and Juliet? If you’ve heard any of these stories, chances are good that you do remember. As humans, we are naturally drawn to stories, and we remember them much more easily than we do lists of facts or a jumble of ad copy.
This highlights the need for businesses of all sizes to create a story about themselves and to use it for marketing and customer engagement across the board. After all, why would you need CFO or accounting services if your customers aren’t seeing you and adding to your bottom line?
The best place to start, as you might guess, is with an origin story. Let’s consider the example of Facebook. It’s well known that founder Mark Zuckerburg created the site during his time at Harvard University as a way for to create a place where people can share their lives as part of a community. Then, he encountered a problem with an elite fraternity. Next, he went on to expand Facebook to more colleges and finally to the general public. It’s clear that his success is not because of his story alone — he also needed to have a good product — but his narrative has captured the attention of thousands and thousands of customers, users, and journalists and even movie makers around the world.
The classic elements of a good story are fairly well-known, but many businesses are so focused on providing great products and service that they haven’t thought about it. Below are some questions you can ask as you think of yours:
• Who is the hero? It is likely the founder or business owner, but it has to be someone who the audience can relate to and who is willing to share their experiences with others. Note that having a single person’s story is more powerful than having the story of a group of people or especially a non-human business entity.
• What pain point does your business solve? This answer to this question should be the purpose of your business. Why is there space in the marketplace for it? How can customers benefit if they work with you compared to the competition?
• What is the main conflict for the hero? This is the turning point of your story, and it might be something like how the hero discovered the pain point or the hurdles he or she had to jump to get started.
• How did the conflict resolve? Think about music — whenever the band plays a dissonant chord, it has to be followed by a round, resonant and pure chord or the audience will be left feeling ill at ease. The same is true for your business’s story. After the hero recognized the problem, how was it solved? Most likely, the answer will be the first steps that were taken in starting the business.
• What’s next for your hero? Once your audience has identified with the hero and seen him or her through the conflict, they naturally want that hero to succeed. This is the perfect chance for you to talk about how your business has grown and what you’re planning next.
Try writing out your story in long form, and make sure you don’t fabricate even a single detail. Then, edit it mercilessly until you can tell it, memorized, within a minute or two. You can also include this story on your website’s “About Us” page and on social media, and with every reporter or customer, you talk with at length.
People remember stories, not facts. You can harness the power of this truth by wrapping your facts within a compelling narrative. When you do, you can be sure that you will be the first company that comes to mind when people encounter the pain points you identified. Creating a story is the most effective and least expensive marketing tool you can find.