We’ve all got a story.  From how you got to be where you are to what it took to get your dinner last night, you have a story.  So do businesses.  From how they started from humble beginnings to how they work to solve problems now, they too have a story to tell.

We find ourselves in a day where modern marketing is calling for something more.  Gone are the days of having a product, a cute slogan and a sign so people know how to find you.  Potential customers are looking for what makes you different than the rest.  They want to know why they should consider doing business with you.  Shane Snow, author of “Smartcuts” advocates business storytelling.  The ultimate goal is to reach out to your audience and grow it by keeping them engaged.  You do that, by telling your story.

One of the best examples of storytelling for business can be found in Hewlett-Packard.  The story of their start in the rented garage and a little over $500 in capital is legendary in Silicon Valley and is looked upon as the start of the modern computing industry.  H-P is also fantastic at putting a face on their organization.  In their story, emphasis is put on Bill and Dave, their founders.  When you think of H-P as the company started by a couple of guys in a garage, it makes it less of a faceless entity and more of a thinking, feeling organization complete with a personality.

But, H-P is not the only one that knows how to tell a story and engage people.

So how do you get started?  The answer is to strategize ways to tell the story of individuals at your company.  When you make sure that your customer knows your organization and its people, you give customers the opportunity to trust you because you seem more real to them.  You seem engaging and people will be more apt to trust you.  That can ultimately lead to increased sales.

You can also tell the story of the history of your business.  You don’t have to have decades of history to get people to identify with you.  To build that history, ask yourself some pointed questions, like these:

  • Did our company have humble beginnings?
  • Did we start from a problem that we found an innovative way to solve?
  • Who was there at the beginning and what was their vision?
  • What have we done lately to make life better for people?

By now, you can see that the most successful brands are ones that tell stories.  The good news for you is that there is no single, right approach to telling stories in business.  That means that you can innovate for your own individual organization.  Still, you do need to follow this simple rule: be real, engaging human beings with a genuine solution to a problem.  People are naturally drawn to stories.  If you tell them a good one, people will be drawn to your organization.  That leads to trust and, hopefully, increased sales.  And in the end, that is a goal that we can all live with.

-Jeremy Lawrence

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