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How Stories can Transform your Business and Engage your Customers
Last week I had the honor of leading a conference for young social entrepreneurs. For two days, I listened to young leaders share their tales of starting up, growing, failing, and learning. As a young entrepreneur, these stories gripped me at my core. With each new story, I grew closer to each speaker and more inspired in my own journey. Then it occurred to me, without stories we would have no way to share our lives with one another. Stories are the fabric upon which our separate lives become one. Stories matter.
Stories matter in friendships
Stories are the foundation of communication. We instinctively understand and apply this in our personal relationships. When I return home from the studio each day, my wife and I share the day’s stories with each other. In doing so, we invite one another into a piece of our lives that would otherwise be unknown. This is how relationships work. In the context of human relationships, stories matter.
Stories matter in business
Although we understand the role stories play in personal communication, we fail miserably when it comes to business communication. As businesses, we break every rule of communication 101. Rather than engaging in dialogue with customers, we merely talk at them. Rather than asking how a customer feels, we make broad generalizations. Rather than sharing stories with customers, we dump facts and figures on them. For the health of our businesses and the sanity of our customers, we need to begin using stories to create authentic engagement.
Understanding how to use stories in your business is simple. Take everything you know about communicating as a human, and apply that to your business. Here are 3 simple ways to begin connecting with customers through your stories.
Share your beliefs through a story
In your personal life, your beliefs shape your decisions. What you believe will influence where you live, what you drive, and how you spend your time. Beliefs bring people together. Similarly, businesses are driven by a system of beliefs. A business’ beliefs will drive its products design, its choice in employees, and the way in which it conducts operations. Use stories to reveal your beliefs to your customers. One way to do this is to create a video which tells a unique story that embodies your beliefs. This way, customers can more easily understand and share your beliefs.
Share your product/service through a story
At Venture Visuals, we’ve often work with agriculture companies to help them bring greater transparency to the safety of their food products. For example, we recently produced a video which told the story of how their vegetables are planted, grown, and distributed. This “field-to-fork” story created greater trust with customers and government alike. Look for opportunities to explain your product or service in terms of a story.
Create new stories together
Personal relationships are cultivated by spending time together and creating memories. In the same way, businesses must create new opportunities to build memories with their customers. This can happen through conferences, parties, or local events. In the same way you document a family vacation with a camera, you can document your event with a video. The video then becomes a shared memento between your business and your customers.