Effective storytelling is simple, unexpected, credible, concrete, and emotional. Simplicity breaks the story down into a digestible piece. The unexpected and emotional elements leave a mark on the viewer’s brain and heart, making it memorable. If a story isn’t credible and concrete, it lacks merit and loses its value. A great story leaves a memorable impact on potential customers and keeps your brand at the forefront of their minds when looking for the services you offer. It begins with your company’s purpose, then how to solve a customer’s problem.
Storytelling doesn’t happen without a concerted effort and being sure to follow a process. There are three steps to relaying your company’s brand through storytelling: excite, educate, and connect.
verb (used with object), ex·cit·ed, ex·cit·ing.
to stir to action; provoke or stir up.
Start with enticing the prospective customer with the WHY of your company - what’s the company’s passion, and why do you do what you do. Be purposeful about the WHY of your company. Get the customer excited about the passion your company brings, and how you want to help them improve their bottom line. In the “excite” phase, brevity is your friend. Most commercials are in the “excite” phase - a 30-second commercial is enough to excite the potential customer. Anything longer is a waste of time when initially introducing your company to a potential customer. If you haven’t yet excited them about your company, they will lose interest if you attempt to educate them first.
verb (used with object), ed·u·cat·ed, ed·u·cat·ing.
to develop the faculties and powers of (a person) by teaching, instruction, or schooling.
Then educate your customer and expand to the HOW of the company, and WHAT your business does. When you’re educating a customer, they’re already somewhat invested by learning the WHY of your company. A storytelling video for educational purposes can be several minutes long since the customer’s interest is already piqued through being excited. You want to use a unique point of view, and educate the customer on what’s unique about the results achieved. Once the customer is more educated about how your company can help them, they are more empowered to begin the decision-making process.
verb (used with object)
to join, link, or fasten together; unite or bind.
In order to fully connect with a customer, you want to stimulate four specific chemicals in the brain, known as the “happiness cocktail”. By eliciting an emotional response from your customer, they will be able to connect with and better remember your story. When feelings of motivation and love are evoked, Dopamine is released in the brain. When feelings of empathy and trust are evoked, Oxytocin is released in the brain. Endorphins are released with joy and laughter. Serotonin is released when a person has a feeling of significance and purpose. When these four chemicals are released in the brain, a person is far more likely to remember the experience - with a positive emotional attachment. For example: can you think of a specific date that had an emotional impact on you? Do you remember all of the details of that event? Now, do you remember specific details of what happened to you three weeks ago on a Tuesday? People remember details when emotion is involved.
As you’re implementing the three steps listed above, remember to also be a story collector. Listen to what your customers are saying in order to understand your customer’s problems and discover their stories. Work with your customer as a partner, and build a vision of the future together. Tell the customers’ story through your company’s lens and how your company contributes to it. How are you solving your customer’s problem? Once a story is built, you can shrink the story and spread it out into multiple touch points. In order to be a trendsetter, try different mediums to see what works in different platforms. Gather data about the effectiveness of each story, and each touchpoint and re-use elements that are working for your company.