How to tell your company's story to engage, inspire (and attract new customers)

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Everybody has a story. When we share our stories with others, we open doors for communication and connection. We give people reasons to relate to us, and we create opportunities to build relationships. The same is true when businesses share their stories with potential customers (as well as employees).

I recently attended a webinar during which Michael Parrish DuDell, author of “Shark Tank Jump Start Your Business” gave tips on how to “sell” your company’s story to engage audiences and increase your bottom line. Sounds simple, right? However, DuDell warned against several pitfalls companies make that may, in fact, alienate target audiences, including not understanding audience segments, bashing competitors and making the tale so complicated that the audience does not know the primary takeaway or call to action. (Notice that “takeaway” and “call to action” are both singular terms. Simplicity is key.)

DuDell provided seven narratives to help you share your story in a compelling manner, which can be found in the book “The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories” by Christopher Booker. Although the book is about fictional plots, when interpreted by DuDell for nonfiction storytelling, these themes form a solid foundation for finding the right dialogue that can help you connect with potential customers as well as cultivate a loyal, return-customer base.

  1. Overcoming the Monster. How does your product or service face an issue head-on to provide a needed solution? Tell the story of how your company’s founders, employees, etc. identified a problem and overcame it to make the industry, marketplace or world better for end users. Your product can be the hero of this narrative.
  2. Rags to Riches. Does your company have humble beginnings? Did you fail first, and perhaps often, before succeeding? Remind people that you’ve been (or still are) in the trenches, just like them. When it comes to finding the best solutions to improve the job site or life in general, we’re all in this together.
  3. The Quest. Create empathy and relatability by sharing your company’s journey to find that perfect solution, mindset, corporate culture etc.
  4. Voyage and Return. Discuss the lessons learned from your company’s “quest,” even if the perfect solution was not found! How is your company using these lessons to improve products, services, etc.?
  5. Comedy. Everybody likes a good chuckle. Using humor is a great way to connect with people and be relatable. However, you must proceed with caution, as you must really know your audience to determine that fine line between humorous and offensive. Start off slow and subtle.
  6. Tragedy. Don’t be afraid to talk about a crisis that happened to or within your company. Make it personal!
  7. Rebirth. Especially when discussing tragedy, it is important to end your story with how the event(s) led to transformation. How did your company come out of this stronger or better, and in what ways? How does this benefit customers? Be authentic about it.

Remember, a good story has a beginning, middle and end. Where was your company in the beginning, what led your company on its journey, where is your company now and where are you headed? If you are talking about a product or service, shed light on the inspiration behind the product, how/why you built it and how it benefits your audience.

You can also use one or a combination of the above themes to share your own customers’ experiences. Who better to tell the story of how your services help resolve issues and conquer problems than your end users? If you need help finding your narrative and delivering your story, contact us today!

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