Several months ago, I was part of a marketing team that helped a client cast a vision for “what could be” if granted a highly sought-after lease of 50+ acres of city-owned land to expansion its operations. Millions of dollars were at stake.
Over a period of several months, we developed a communications strategy and materials–including a powerful video–which told the client’s story in a way designed to elicit an emotional response and a strong sense of community, resulting in widespread support for the project.
Our strategy was to focus on telling rather than selling. Last month the city granted our client the lease, in large part because of our ability to articulate the vision and the many benefits the community would gain as the vision became reality.
As an article in Forbes points out, “In today’s age of brand experience, it seems that emotional engagement is proving to be more and more critical to achieving winning results, and effective storytelling is at the heart of this movement.”
Storytelling is certainly at the heart of Kickstarter, the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects. According to the company’s website, more than 10 million people, from every continent on earth, have backed a Kickstarter project. Artists, filmmakers, designers, developers and creators are required to tell their stories through a video that explains what they are doing and why it matters.
“Today, one of the biggest corporate buzzwords is ‘storytelling.’ Marketers are obsessed with storytelling,” writes Shane Snow, chief content officer at Contently, a New York company that connects freelance journalists with corporate assignments.
In an opinion article on HubSpot, he describes storytelling as “a timeless skill” and claims, “As the majority of corporations start thinking of themselves as publishers, the defining characteristic among the successful ones will be the ability to not just spew content, but to craft compelling stories.”
I think he’s right. When it comes to engaging target audiences, building brand loyalty and differentiating an organization from competitors, nothing beats the ability to artfully tell a story.
You may forget facts and statistics, but a good story stays with you.
A memorable story will differentiate your agency from the competition, just as finding compelling stories about your clients will help them position their organizations and stand out from the crowd.
The reason storytelling is so powerful is because it enables us to uniquely connect with specific audiences.
When it comes to new business for agencies, storytelling can make or break a deal. It can make you memorable or easy to forget.
Want to win more new business? Take an honest look at how well your agency is engaging prospects with compelling stories vs. selling your services and experience.
photo credit: Lester Public Library World Storytelling Day via photopin (license)