Many founders are under the impression that stories don’t apply to their business or industry. However, the truth is that every brand has a story.
And how you narrate it can be a critical factor in building healthy brand sentiment, increasing organic reach, and achieving an overall high conversion rate. Are you making any mistakes that can negatively affect your conversions? Read our previous story, These Conversion Killers are Driving Your Customers Away, to know more.
In addition, there is no denying that it has been a record-breaking year for the Indian startup community, be it IPOs or VC fundraise. There are multiple opportunities right now which can contribute to your high growth. Simultaneously, it also means that there is an increasing challenge to breakthrough.
And you need to ensure that your founder’s story stands out amid all this white noise.
We have talked about startups raising hundreds of millions of dollars and how many have become unicorns. However, not all startup stories are built equally.
It certainly isn’t as easy as issuing a press release or asking media companies to profile you and wait for them to tell your story. If it were true, businesses would be issuing press releases and media pitches till blue in the face.
But, it isn’t an impossible task either. You can cut through the clutter with the right approach and passion (1, 2, 3).
In this story, we will explore various ways you can narrate your business story.
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The Power of a Good Creative Business Story
Let’s imagine going to a meeting.
You enter a room full of serious-looking individuals in grey suits bragging about their corporate goals.
And there you are in your neon t-shirt. You attract attention by saying, “allow me to tell you a story about how I conquered the world; want to hear it?”
Of course, a business story doesn’t need that sort of bravery. But a good business story will have a similar impact. It helps you attract attention and stand out. It allows you to invigorate your prospects, get them inspired and bring them closer to your brand.
Remember, big corporations can afford to be boring. They have tons of money to purchase brand awareness.
On the other hand, freelancers and small businesses don’t have the same privilege. We have to fascinate our audience and encourage them to take action (4, 5).
When you tell your audience your business founding story, you take them on your journey and give them a sight of who you are. It helps earn an emotional buy-in.
It is the power of good storytelling, regardless of its shape and size.
There are many examples of a compelling business story. Think about how Wozniak and Jons built their first Apple computer in a garage. And how Disney started as a cartoon studio back in the 1920s.
Yes, they do sound like fairytales. And it may make you feel that your story may not be fascinating enough.
However, that is not at all true.
The key is to find the four key moments of your business journey and craft your story around them (6, 7):
- The problem you faced
- The spark of insight about fixing this problem
- How did you start your company
- Your mission to make more people passionate about the solution
While these four moments sound simple, they include enough details to make the story fascinating. Also, consider throwing in some sensory and emotional worlds to make the narrative vivid.
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Write Your Own Business Story
You don’t require any unique talent to write your own business story.
You only need to connect your mission to your founding story to energize and motivate your audience.
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How to Tell Your Business Story
Be Raw and Authentic
One of the most excellent examples we found was Noah Kagan, the founder of AppSumo (8). It is a marketplace for software that rakes millions of dollars a month. He is also known for his YouTube channel, where he talks about his personal experiences.
We found all of those videos instructive and informative and serve as excellent examples of storytelling marketing in the B2B sector.
For example, he talked about how he got fired from Facebook in a very real and raw way:
While the experience is unique, it is still relatable to people struggling at their jobs. It brings hope to those watching as Noah proves that you can build a multi-million-dollar company even if you live the worst time of your life.
Again, you may wonder that you don’t have an interesting story. But as mentioned, you don’t need to have anything wild or impressive to move your audience. The key is to be authentic and be passionate about your story.
Every leader has a personal story besides the problem their company is looking to solve. The savviest founders understand that showing their human side will help them be more relatable to their audience.
Another example of such an example includes Tony Tran, founder of Lumanu (9). Tony is passionate about sharing his entrepreneurial journey as an immigrant from Vietnam and how his experience shaped how he raised funds and scaled his business.
When you highlight lessons you learned along your entrepreneurial journey or any particular challenge you overcame, when you show your vulnerability, you show your prospects that you have something to share more than a mere business case.
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Show Your History and Values
In a cutthroat competitive market, humanity is at a premium. And you can make it the focus of your brand. Tell the background, story, or values of your business itself and the people that make it what it is.
One of the excellent examples is TOMS (10).
Success here can move customers even further down the sales funnel. It can lead a prospect to a customer and from a customer to an evangelist.
You will compete with your peers for mere seconds of their prospects’ attention with almost identical messaging. However, when you tell your unique story, your competitors can’t take it away from you.
Connect With Your Audience Via Your Customers
Presbyterian Hospital of New York has one of the most active social media accounts in the healthcare industry (11). And after scrolling via a few of their posts, it is easy to see why their audience is so captivated by them.
Instead of proving their expertise and skill by showing off complex information about the healthcare system, they accomplish something similar via simple stories.
The key takeaway is that instead of writing dry case studies about your success, ask your customers to share their experience and any challenges they faced before using your brand.
Founders must have the ability to explain their offerings in simple terms. Stick to easy-to-understand terms and deliver focused messages. It can go a long way in entrancing the attention of your audience (12, 13).
As technology becomes more complicated, it is impossible for every individual to understand every product and service fully. It is up to founders to democratize the information and make it engaging.
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Allow Your Team Members to Tell Your Business Story
When you build a company culture that your staff believes in, you end up building a team of brand ambassadors that narrate your business story for you. It is a form of telling your business story with an organic feel and depends on strong culture-building tactics for it to flourish.
It is not a one-off price but something that is constantly evolving.
There are five core principles any business needs to build an authentic company culture (14):
- Mental Health
One business that has done exceptionally well in telling its story via company culture is Remoter Year (15).
Remote Year has its team traveling the world. They live, breathe, and have genuine conversations about sharing their business’s core values. It generates an organic interest in working for the company – attracting talent and the product.
The key is to build communities that relate to people instead of businesses.
And when you allow your staff to tell your business story for you, your customers relate with them and, in turn, your brand. You will build a sense of trust with your consumer.
Ensure Your Stories Ties with Current Trends
When you connect your point of view to the already trending stories and have people’s attention, you can become more interesting and relevant.
And to make your story truly effective, ensure that they are (16, 17):
- Entertaining to keep your audience hooked
- Structured enough to convey your message in the simplest way possible
- Relatable so you can tap into your audiences’ recognizable emotions and experiences
- Memorable to make sure it stays with your audience
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Steps to Build Your Business Story
#1 Know Your Audience
To create a compelling business story, you need to understand your readers and how it can benefit them, and what can encourage them to take action.
Do thorough research on your target audience and define the personas of your buyer. It will allow you to determine who may read, view, or listen to your story.
#2 Define a Core Message
What do you want to gain with your story? How would you make your core message clear? Answer these questions to offer a compelling story that can relate to your audience.
#3 Choose a CTA
What is the profitable action that you would like your story to inspire your audience? It can be measurable such as purchasing a new product, subscribing to your mailing list, sharing the video, etc.
#4 Choose a Medium
You can use multiple channels to tell your business stories. It can include podcasts, Twitter threads, visual blogs, videos, and others (18, 19).
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- Instead of writing a dry case study about the success of your business, ask your customers to share their stories or any challenges they faced before using your brand.
- Most people think of viral social media posts and even TV commercials when they hear the term business story. However, there are plenty of opportunities even for B2B brands to narrate their business story.
- Consider using your staff members, community members, influencers, and customers who support your core values to narrate your business story for you.
- If you are struggling to build a compelling storyline, leverage the experience of others to come up with a relatable story for your next marketing campaign.
- Use an omnichannel approach when you incorporate your business story in your marketing. Also, use yourself or your customers as the character(s) of your story to relate with your audience.
- Get personal with your customers. You can also use humor to explain your core brand values or offer a solution to the issue.
- Focus on real people and be authentic while using emotions in your story. Ensure that your brand motto aligns with the story moral presented in your business narrative.
- Educate people about your products by creating a brand story that features your product’s unique selling point.
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Remember, storytelling is a pile of helpful information you want your audience to know about the brand in a narrative. It doesn’t have to be a 10k word report, but it includes your source of motivation, your brand’s values, how you help your customers, and even your customers’ interactions with your brand (20).
The key is to connect with your audience and explain to them the core vision of your brand. Therefore, you should not use your business narrative to show off your sales, as an advertisement, or as a sales pitch.
And when brands are transparent and authentic, they can tap into people’s emotions and motive them to take desired actions. Stories can also help you foster brand loyalty.
So, go ahead and create a narrative around your brand to humanize your products and inherently use it as a marketing tactic for your business.