When I was a kid, my dad would make up these incredible stories. Not just the kind that you found in a book but these unique, one-of-a-kind, elaborate stories that would transport you to a different place and time. The kind of stories that made you believe in magic. The kind of stories that made you feel connected, loved, and special. The kind of stories that always left you wanting more. The best kinds of brands, the best kinds of people, are the ones that know how to tell a story. How does one learn to harness the power of storytelling to connect with your audience, even if they hate you?
When my dad told us these magical stories, it wasn’t just that he was telling us a story. He was creating a story that we could relate to, empathize with, and connect to. He developed characters, he shared their experiences, he made us feel. It didn’t matter how many magical beings were involved, the stories always had a human element that allowed us to connect.
Storytelling is magical. It’s what makes a brand human, it’s what makes it easy to connect. We all love a good story, but do we all know how to tell it? And isn’t a good story subjective? Maybe. But maybe it isn’t. Maybe a great story is always great. I’d like to think so. Have you ever found yourself loving a brand even though you hate its product? That’s the result of connecting to a good story.
Have you ever found yourself mesmerized by a brand, a company, or even celebrity and thought to yourself, why? Why am I so hooked? What is SO special about them that I need more. Even when you don’t like the brand, even when you don’t want to like the product, you still somehow have a love or connection to them. I certainly have found myself mesmerized. Most of us have. I mean, come on, have you seen my Kate Spade Collection? #addicted. Who doesn’t want a can of Coca-Cola after some of their feel-good commercials? I sat down and I thought about the why. Why do I feel connected? Why do I want more? Why, why, why?! Even when I know I don’t want it, but I still do, why? Then I had it, I had the “AHA” moment. It’s the storytelling. Duh. Of course, it’s the storytelling.
If I lost you already, then I failed. I failed at telling a compelling enough story to keep you interested. I probably put in too much fluff, but that’s who I am. I like the fluff. I like the stuff that makes us feel connected. I like feeling human. I like schmoozing. That’s part of me. That’s part of my brand. Hopefully, you’re still with me. Hopefully, what I’m saying is enticing enough to keep you going. It’s worth it. I promise. If you’re already gone, well, BYE FELICIA. If you’re not, I’m getting to the good stuff and let me tell you, it’s worth it. It’s nothing mind-blowing, and most likely you’ve thought about it, but what I’m going to do is connect the dots.
In the 5 fundamentals of connecting with your audience, I talked about speaking and listening to your audience, but also about sharing your story. At the core of all storytelling is the ability to share and tell your story. But how?
How do you harness the power of storytelling to connect with and ultimately convert your audience?
All good storytelling requires a connection between you and your target audience. These are just a few ways that you can leverage the power of storytelling to help facilitate that connection.
Share your values. Connect with purpose.
Share what you value, share your belief system, share your heart. It seems so simple. It is so simple and yet….it’s not. I have seen businesses both large and small, feel uncomfortable sharing when they do something good or give back to the community. They’re humble. They are being good for the sake of being good, not for the recognition. Which is great. I applaud that, I think there’s value in doing that, some of the time. I really do but times are changing.
Millennials are a generation that as consumers (and employees too) are set on making a difference in the world. Millennials aren’t teenagers anymore, some of them are almost 40. It’s time to pay attention. They put their money and time where their mouth is and support businesses that believe in charity and philanthropy just as much as they do. It’s not just millennials, it’s past, present and future generations that are starting to spend money with people that share your values.
The idea of cause marketing should be at the forefront of everything you say and do. I believe that thinking about people over profit will always lead to success. It’s time to share your values with your audience and to connect to them with a purpose.
Share your experiences.
There used to be a time and place where public relations was all about putting a spin on things.
It would be naïve to say that has gone away but the reality is, we’re slowly becoming a generation that believes in honesty and transparency, that believes that sharing experiences can help, not hurt a business and its relationship to its customers.
Sharing your experiences gives you an opportunity to share your story on how you overcame adversity, problem solved, averted a crisis situation, leaned into something that allowed your brand to empower itself and opens the door to many other opportunities.
We all make mistakes. Big brands, little brands and everyone in between, we make mistakes. How we handle and share those mistakes, how we tell that story, can make or break the difference with how you connect to your audience. In the long run, most people forget the mistakes we make, but they do remember the way the story unfolded. They remember how we share our experiences.
Highlight your people.
People like doing business with people. It’s important to talk about your people so that your audience and customers know that they’re real.
Have you ever been to a website with an auto chat that is so obviously a bot? No one wants that. Even if you have it, no one wants to feel like that’s the person they’re talking to. No one likes the idea of talking to a faceless person or a bot, we want to know who we’re working with. People want to know we matter and that you care.
Highlighting your employees and their families is an incredible way to make your customers feel like a part of your extended family. We all want to feel like we are doing business or working with someone that we know, it breaks down so many barriers. When you know who you’re talking to, who is helping you, who it is that’s solving your problem, it’s easier to trust the people you’re collaborating with. With trust, it’s easier to connect with your audience, don’t you think?
It also gives you an opportunity to recognize your employee through the power of positive recognition. Having a platform to make your people feel appreciated is a great way to reinforce a positive work culture.
Brands that don’t highlight or talk about their entire team (not just CEO’s and forward-facing team members) are missing the opportunity to connect with their current and potential audience members. So often, all we need to hire or connect with a company is that human touch. It really is that simple. Creating a way to highlight your people and the team members that support your business and brand, is one of many great ways to tell your story and connect with your audience.
Create your voice. Speak your truth.
My dad often says to me, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it!” Your brand voice should be able to listen, inspire, connect, engage and often, evolve. Create your voice, speak your truth, develop an identity and tell a powerful story. If you’re not doing it yet, do it now.
Creating a unique voice that defines your brand and what you represent is key to connecting with your audience. You’d be surprised by how many companies don’t have their own unique voice. It’s always one of the first things I ask a brand, especially if we’re getting ready to talk social strategy, “What is your voice?”. Often, I get blank stares, sometimes I get someone trying to answer, and rarely I get a clear defined vision of what their voice is. We all need it to tell our stories, but we don’t all have our voice. Not yet anyway.Brand voice is an opportunity to use purposeful and consistent words and style that engage, motivate and connect with your audience. Your voice, your tone, your communication style is just as important as your story. Your voice is how you create an engaging persona to interact with your ideal audience.
When you create your voice and speak your truth you’re able to develop your identity and tell your story. The time to create your voice and speak your brands’ truth is now.
Share your wins. TELL. YOUR. STORY.
Set yourself apart. Foster real engagement. Share your wins and most importantly, tell your story! Everything we’ve talked about so far should be a part of your unique story. It’s important to tell these stories. Your audience wants to know. They’re waiting for an excuse to feel connected to you. They’re waiting for you to be real.
Not all experiences end with a win, but when they do, share them. Share your wins. Whether it’s an external or internal win, your fans, customers and target demographic deserve to hear about your wins, they deserve to hear your story.
When you remember to do these 5 things, you’re setting yourself up to tell a great story and to connect with your audience. So remember, in order to harness the power of storytelling to connect with your audience, you must also:
- Share your values. Connect with purpose.
- Share your experiences.
- Highlight your people.
- Create your voice. Speak your truth.
- Share your wins and tell your story.
Harnessing the power of storytelling to connect with your audience is one of the best ways to find the right audience, at the right time. If you need help finding your voice, Danie Schwartz Consulting is here to help you find it.
Danie Schwartz Consulting is a full-service creative consulting firm, specializing in storytelling via copywriting, social media, and other visual arts. A perfect blend of creativity, energy, communication, brand, and strategy; we’re ready to bring your brand to the next level. We’d love to connect with you, call us at (530) 636-0193 or email firstname.lastname@example.org today! or Schedule a FREE consultation today!