How storytelling can improve your bottom line

How storytelling can improve your bottom line

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Some of those among us, who work with sales targets, would say the best story in the world is the story of an improving bottom line. It’s the only one that deserves an Oscar.

That’s just because the opposite is terrifying. A falling bottom line is a ghastly horror story that’s followed by some very well-known worries and nightmares that cause countless sleepless nights.
But, I digress. Storytelling can be an indispensable tool to drive your bottom line.

Not convinced?

Well, all people enjoy stories, we’ve been telling them for millennia. You might not know it, but you have your own stories that you tell other people. Whether they’re jokes or little bits of interesting information, or the story of that wild weekend up the coast that keeps getting more and more dramatic with each retelling. We all tell stories on a regular basis.

But what is the story of your brand? Your department? Your office? In a business setting, stories can bind people together and unite them to achieve a common goal. Through storytelling, you can increase engagement, performance and communication within and outside of your organisation.

Many of the world’s biggest businesses have done exactly this. They tell stories to their customers and their employees. – stories with only truth in them, mind you. They encourage a consensus on a commitment to purpose and output.

You would be right to assume that this sounds like it ties in with organisational strategy, or communication integration and it overlaps with the duties of marketing, advertising, sales and strategy creation – it’s a tool that everyone working in these spheres keep in their toolkits.

Let’s have a look at a few examples.

Storytelling as a continuous dialogue

Through storytelling, you can increase engagement, performance and communication within and outside of your organisation.

Red Bull tells great aspirational stories with their famous, humorous animations. They weave many of these stories together to form a network of messages to their customers. They’ve created a continuous dialogue that aligns with their “Red Bull gives you wings” slogan. The repetition and constant additions to the dialogue is an extra layer of value to their storytelling.

Storytelling as part of history

KFC has been using storytelling in their marketing and advertising for decades, so much so that their history has a mythical quality to it. The three-tone image of their founder, Colonel Sanders, is quite possibly one of the most famous images of the last hundred years. Their company’s story is part of US history as one of the first fast food franchises.

Storytelling as a biography

Stories could also have a biographic element to them – much like KFC – with the personal stories of living founders forming part of the company’s story. The brands of companies like Apple, Virgin and Facebook are almost indistinguishable from their founders’ personal brands (Steve Jobs, Sir Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg). In fact, each one of their founders have had a movie made about them, (Steve Jobs (2015); Don’t Look Down (2016) and The Social Network (2010)) a demonstration of how inspiring their success has been.

A lot of the qualities needed to write stories include sense-making, empathy and a good imagination. These are great qualities to hone for your business too, and not only so you can “imagine” having an eight-figure turnover, but to be creative with the way you weave stories.

So, my question to you is: what is your story?

 

References:
Forbes’ Storytelling: The New Strategic Imperative
History of Kentucky Fried Chicken
KFC
Red Bull
IMDB: Steve Jobs (2015)
IMDB: Don’t Look Down (2015)
IMDB: The Social Network (2010)

Author: Simon Pienaar

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