In the cold and calculating, often male-dominated, world of business, the focus is often on logic and rational decisions. There is a tendency to shy away from revealing emotions to the general public, as this may be construed as a show of weakness rather than strength. While this may be true in some aspects of life, when it comes to business and marketing, engaging in personal talk is essential if you want to attract customers.
The power of storytelling
Throughout the centuries, one of the few things to survive the rise and fall of civilizations is the story. Storytelling is a powerful art form that has existed ever since humanity’s first ancestors gathered around campfires at night to keep warm and entertained. The medium of storytelling exists because people are not only rational creatures but also social creatures. Unlike machines, there is a human need to interact with one another, and the best way to do this is by sharing meaningful personal experiences.
The prominence of data and facts
In an age of scientific reasoning, the adherence of many people to raw data and facts has taken on an almost cult-like devotion. Whenever someone decides to stray off this path and instead rely on personal, lived experiences, he or she is often seen as a sentimental fool. During debates and classroom discussions, anything remotely subjective is immediately denigrated and rendered impermissible as evidence.
Business is about human contact
The adherence to objective reasoning is acceptable, even expected, in scientific deliberations, but business is far from a strict science. It is also an art that deals with human interactions. In this realm, data and facts do not have privileged status. In fact, if there is anything that could be called superior, it is emotions.
Customers crave human contact. They do not care about statistics and number crunching as much as the marketers often think they do. Advertisements that focus too much on impersonal scientific data miss the mark because clients are yearning for a personal touch. They want to know if the company cares about them and their feelings. They want to know if the company has their back when they are in trouble. Above all, they want to know if there is a kind, human face behind the blob of faceless offices and nameless personnel.
There is a way to impart all of this, and that is through storytelling.
Storytelling as marketing
The only way to create a connection with your niche audience is to tell them a story, preferably something true to life and personal. For example, in a business that deals with preserving old photographs, a typical method of advertising the product would be to shout something along the lines of “Don’t you hate it when old photos get ruined by the passage of time? By utilizing our top of the line techniques, you can save those memories so that they last forever!” While there is nothing wrong with this, it is too impersonal, too cerebral. There is also an unmistakable sales pitch quality to it that triggers an immediate mistrust as the buyer tries to figure out what the “catch” is.
To avoid this and create a more compelling ad copy, the entrepreneur should incorporate a personal story such as this: “After a storm flooded our house, the album which contained all the photos of our grandpa was destroyed. It broke my dad’s heart, and he ended up feeling responsible for something that was completely out of his control. The worst part of it is that the last link my grandpa had to this world is now gone. It’s as if he never existed.”
There is a major difference between the mere thought of losing a photo and the genuine experience of losing one. In the example above, the first ad speaks more to the mind than the heart. It is impersonal and doesn’t attempt to make a connection with the audience. In the second example, an intimate relationship is achieved by sharing a personal story that any customer in the niche can relate to. It feels as if the marketing is speaking on a one-to-one basis to every member of the audience.
The face of the business
Weave personality into your business and you will never go hungry for customers again. Engaging with your target prospects using storytelling not only guarantees profits but also enhances customer loyalty. Your customers will feel as if they know you in person and will treat you as a close friend. After all, they may be ambivalent towards strangers but, when a friend beckons, they will consider the summons as a welcome and urgent matter.