There’s Nothing Better Than a Good Story

A simple and powerful way to create connections.

Since the beginning of time, stories could transport us to a different time and place. More importantly, they have the power to insert us into the story as if we are experiencing it ourselves. Great stories resonate with us because they share a belief or value that we embrace. That’s why they’re memorable and persuasive.

Movies are a great example of powerful storytelling. It’s why we laugh, cry, cover our eyes, or yell at the screen when one of our values are violated. If you think about it, most of the information we experience in our everyday lives are in the form of a story: texts, news, sports highlights, reality shows or even a conversation with a co-worker.

In its purest form, a story has three most basic elements: 1. a character 2. overcoming an obstacle 3. reaching a goal. The same features apply when you build your business story.

Building a Powerful Business Story
Let’s apply the format to your business. A business with a product or service (the character) wants to bring awareness (the obstacle) to consumers to make a purchase and share their positive experience with others (the goal).

That’s a simplistic example, but creating a powerful and lasting connection between your business and your customers is a complex marketing journey.

What a Powerful Business Story is Not
The standard business story goes something like this,

“Tom needs a lawn mower to cut his grass, so he goes to the store and buys a Lawn Monster 27 mulching lawn mower with premium direct drive, ultra mulching blade technology, and electric start. Tom loves how great his lawn looks, and it takes less time to cut than with other lawn mowers. Buy a Lawn Monster mower today!”

The story does communicate the product, points of difference, and a call to action to buy one, but it’s a pretty dull story. It creates no connection because it’s product-focused rather than customer-focused.

A Better Approach
Now let’s reword it to create a connection.

“To the homeowner who understands the value of reliable lawn equipment, considers a well-trimmed lawn a reflection of themselves, and who politely dismisses the compliments from friends and neighbors, but quietly feels a sense of pride. Lawn Monster mowers don’t cut grass; they make lawnscapes.”

The difference between the two stories is undeniable. The first one has no personal connection; the second one puts the consumer into the narrative by connecting what the brand stands for with what the consumer believes or values.

Connections like the above are far more likely to turn consumers into customers and hopefully into cheerleaders for your business.

Nike is a good example. It sells all types of athletic equipment, but what it sells is entirely different from the story it tells. Nike brand stands for achievement, perseverance, discipline, and dedication.

You can see it in their tagline, “Just Do It.”. It resonates on a deep level because it’s the same thing that little voice in our head says when we’re deciding to go to lunch or to go for a run.

All long-term relationships are built on shared values–not products.