The storytelling, although not a new technique, is something that is still quite effective and is a powerful ally of the companies.
Telling or listening to a story – who doesn’t? Since when we were children this was already part of our routine and our imagination, wasn’t it?
Our past as a civilization, by the way, is all told through stories, its characters and its deeds.
We are obviously very used to it and consume all kinds of narratives every day.
If we pull it to the corporate scope, storytelling exists in the same sense – that of telling a journey.
Even more if we think about the evolution we had as a society and the impact that technology brings.
Stories everyone can tell, but who really has a good one? The one that holds and enchants?
When companies have one, well, then they start to get interesting.
In this article, we’ll talk about what is storytelling – that term so associated with marketing. We will discuss its importance and how it can be done.
So… sit down and here comes the story!
What is storytelling?
The simplest and most straightforward definition we can give to this concept is the technique of telling a good story – or at least a relevant one.
By relevant, we mean a story that is interesting, entertaining and that captures the attention of those who consume it.
More than that, the objective is to enchant, to permanently mark the memory of the interlocutors.
To reach this level, however, a very well-tailored narration is needed.
A script that shows a clear beginning, middle and end and that, throughout the narrative, there are elements that capture and enchant the audience.
Yes. Exactly. It’s not an easy task – but it’s extremely rewarding to do.
Comedy. Drama. Action. Romance. Whichever type of story you want to tell, remember that it needs to be relevant.
So if you want to tell a story about a dog, for example, the term storytelling would mean:
- Story – the dog;
- Telling – how this will be told. And there are several ways to do this.
If we brought this concept to the corporate level, storytelling is the ability of companies to tell stories that captivate the public. And this is more common in commercials.
But of course, in the midst of so many advertisements, quality often ends up in the background. And consequently the relevance of these stories is lost.
How important is it for companies?
We cannot deny that, by telling a great story, we are producing unique content.
Even though it is nothing new, when you take a personal approach, you put your own signature to arouse good emotions.
History will be on a positive path if:
- Engaging the audience in a journey – This occurs when thinking about the user experience and their journey when it comes to building content with structured topics that connect with each other and advance to an end;
- Generate identification – This happens when companies manage to make the interlocutor imagine themselves as the main character. When he sees himself going all the way, performing the actions and engaging to the end;
Arouses emotions, seduce. Good stories do that. Now imagine your company doing this with the product or service you sell.
These are the connections that a value story brings and that’s what brands need to explore.
The main elements of storytelling
There are many elements that can make up a story. But, let’s be as direct and didactic as possible.
And so we separated it into 4 parts.
1 – Message
She needs to be strong. Using the example above, the story could be about a dog.
If it’s really good, the way to tell it (telling) can take a back seat and it won’t be a problem as long as it impacts people’s lives.
The ideal, however, is to combine the story and the narrative to make it something remarkable. Then, yes, we will have the ideal scenario.
2 – Environment
This is the simplest element and does not have any mandatory parameters to be followed.
The stories need to take place somewhere, of course.
The ideal, of course, is to place it in an environment that makes initial sense so as not to arouse any feeling of strangeness.
3 – Character
Who will be the protagonist of this journey? Who will undergo the transformation and go all the way to the end?
Obviously give it a name and build its characteristics in a way that can generate empathy in people.
4 – Conflict
That’s what makes the story really interesting. What is the challenge that will arise for the character to have to go through his entire journey to the end?
The simpler the conflict, the easier it is to be both cliché and shallow and uninteresting. After all, what would be the merit of getting something so easy?
The challenge needs to be difficult and with complex barriers to overcome.
The objective is to make the character need to transform, surpass himself and reach a level that he didn’t even know he would achieve.
Then, yes, he will be able to reach the end having success in his mission.
Storytelling applications in companies
Contrary to what it may seem, storytelling does not need to be applied in large actions and in such an elaborate way.
There are several opportunities to apply a good story – and this is important to show the difference of each company.
It’s important to understand its elements, but not everything needs to be a huge, complex, and epic narrative.
And this you need to be clear to start applying this technique in your business to be more successful even in attracting customers .
Use the elements to your advantage to make what the company sells more interesting.
This is an important competitive differentiator that many organizations simply overlook because they doubt their ability to touch people.
Who doesn’t want to have a closer connection with their customers? Awaken emotions and be recognized and welcomed immediately?
That’s when you need to think of your brand as a character.
She is something unique, where her mission, vision and values indicate her entire personality.
Images, texts and all kinds of media serve as an aid to attract people’s attention.
That’s where storytelling and inbound marketing match!
Do you know how?
In content production
This is without a doubt the easiest – and also the obvious – way to captivate people.
But producing content for production, just to say you’re doing your part, makes very little sense. And it will make you just one more amidst so many offers.
Know who you want to reach with what will be produced and set an appropriate tone for the narrative.
Of course, the initial goal is to be clear and get the desired message across. But this can happen in a variety of ways that catch everyone’s attention from the start.
Creativity needs to flow without ceasing to dialogue with the way the company positions itself. That’s why the branding work is so important.
An effective way to make yourself understood while generating identification in people is through metaphors.
It is a didactic way to bring to the reality of the people who consume you (so, know the persona of your business well) the content you produce.
If you need to write about content that has a relevant keyword to rank in searches, why not do it using a character?
He can go after the solution of a problem he has in his day to day work and his KW will be the solution he seeks.
Thus, build the article and the topics that comprise it based on the discoveries that this person makes throughout the narrative.
It’s a different and captivating way to deliver the same thing as others.
When it comes to being consultative and selling
A company’s entire sales force needs to be consultative and generate value for potential customers.
The pre-sales team , then, doesn’t even talk. It needs to be a facilitator so that the lead feels comfortable and confident about buying.
That said, storytelling can be applied at the time of qualification, yes.
It’s time to make a speech adapted to the clients’ reality. So even though you have a sales script and follow it, those concessions are critical right now.
Tell the customer a story when explaining the shopping journey. And do that by putting him as the main character.
The person who identified the problem, faced issues at some point and who will take the solution to the problems within the company.
This in B2B sales , in this case. But it can be applied to any type of trading, actually.
The same speech can and should be replicated in the sales pitch.
And here, again speaking of business-to-business negotiations, this is even more important because decision making usually involves more than one person.
So, how about a well-told story, talking about the hero’s journey, putting decision makers as central characters?
Such an attitude can deliver the value you need to convince them to buy. And, more than that, it can be important to reduce the sales cycle with this customer.
The hero’s journey!
The term was introduced by Josh Campbell in his book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces ”, where he identifies a pattern in the narratives after analyzing famous stories.
Hero’s Journey is nothing more than a storytelling structure that has 12 stages. This is also called “monocyte ”.
It’s important to understand your structure so that storytelling can even more impact the people you’re targeting.
Let’s use a practical example to better understand its parts and how it is applied.
Let’s think of a person who is looking for a solution for managing sales within the company.
Each topic below is one of the elements of the hero’s journey.
It is worth mentioning here that there were 17 original elements. The reduction to 12 took place through Christopher Vogel .
He is the author of the book “The Writer’s Journey ”, and reduced the steps to build a story that has a positive impact in 5 steps.
Let’s check it out?
1 – Ordinary world
It’s about the natural setting. Who is the character, where he lives (or goes to), who he relates to and what elements make him a normal person like any other.
Here, defects, quality, weaknesses, strengths and all kinds of characteristics that make people see themselves in the character are exposed.
So we can think of a sales manager who has just joined the company. Let’s call him Eduardo.
He is enthusiastic and likes people, but at the same time he is insecure because he doesn’t know where he is and feels afraid of failing.
2 – Call to adventure
The adventure starts when he is faced with some kind of conflict and he is called to the mission.
In this case, sell more and reduce costs, improving the company’s current numbers. That is, changing the current panorama and taking everyone out of their comfort zone.
Eduardo will have to try new things and bring them as something positive and infallible for the company.
The adventure needs to be: either related to values important to him, or something vital to his common world, the environment in which he is inserted.
3 – Hero’s Reticence
Fear of the unknown exists and is great. Faced with complex challenges, it is common for there to be hesitations and conflicts.
Soon, the character backs off and refuses the call to adventure. Our manager understands that he is not the best person for the mission.
And he tries to convince himself that the subject should not be dealt with him, remembering that the comfort zone he is in is the best option.
However, the conflict is still there, hammering in your head.
4 – Meeting with the mentor
The impasse is established. Accept the call or not? That is the question.
In this stage, the character will meet (pardon the mesoclisis) with a mentor. This will give him what it takes for him to accept the challenge.
In Eduardo’s case, it doesn’t necessarily have to be someone with knowledge in the field.
It can be a source of inspiration from anywhere, even spiritual.
What is important is that this leads him to have self-confidence and thus accept the mission he was given.
5 – Crossing of the first portal
Mission accepted, time to get out of the confrontation zone and cross the boundary between what he knows and the unknown.
The new world opens up and he starts to explore.
Soon, he begins to research what companies that are able to sell more and better do differently.
6 – Trials, allies and enemies
The path to bigger goals and objectives is long and rocky.
He begins to face small challenges that gradually test his abilities.
But at the same time, it prepares you for the greater tests that are bound to come.
Eduardo, therefore, realizes that he needs to find solutions that are quick to understand and apply and that don’t cost that much for the company.
7 – Approach
After going through these ordeals, he returns to the initial questions that prevented him from starting his journey.
Although there is no inner conflict, this is the moment when he takes a few steps back to face the magnitude of his challenge.
Our character works in a large company and needs to bring a solution that is efficient and effective and that is assertive and fast for the organization.
Therefore, this is the moment when he will realize the importance of his role – and he will prepare even better.
8 – Difficult ordeal
This is the hardest time. That’s when he will go through a trial by fire – it doesn’t necessarily have to be life and death.
However, he needs to pass an extremely difficult test. And, to overcome it, you will need to gather all of your knowledge and experience acquired on the journey.
Eduardo identified that CRM is the way out for the company to reduce sales costs and improve its results .
However, the company’s CEO does not believe in digital transformation and believes it will be a huge and unnecessary expense.
9 – Reward
At this stage, our hero has managed to stand out from his hardest ordeal. In other words, it proved by A plus B that the sales system was the way out for the company.
It’s time, then, for your reward. She is the transformation of an ordinary person into a stronger being.
The journey is not over yet. So there’s not much room to celebrate.
He was able to implement the tool and has an efficient sales plan so that things go as he expects.
10 – Return
The return path is a trail that doesn’t offer as many dangers as the one way. However, it is an important time to reflect.
The feeling is a task accomplished and he realizes this on a daily basis.
Eduardo begins to receive praise from his subordinates and sees the sales routine better in practice.
11 – Hero’s Resurrection
Here we have, without a shadow of a doubt, the highest point in our history. It is about the challenge, the final battle.
When everything looks right, headed for a calm and positive outcome, one last mission appears.
Everything is at risk when the company’s CEO and shareholders complain that sales have not increased as fast as they expected.
They then ask for a meeting to justify the investment made.
This is where our hero overcomes the last hurdle. For if you don’t, the whole journey will have been in vain.
It shows the reports of each salesperson and how each one is in high motivation , as well as the productivity of the sector.
Shows conversion rates within the sales pipeline and how gradually things are improving.
12 – The return with the elixir
The final stage is the moment of glory. It is the moment of success, of reaping the fruits of your battle and consequent conquest.
It’s clear from history that things will never be the same again at the company. Yes, they will be better and better.
And our character, from sales manager, becomes commercial director. And business, of course, does not stop growing.
Eduardo is our hero.
So, who will be the Eduardo of your company?
Enjoy and read two articles that will help you in your business.
The first talks about how it is possible to have sales control within any organization.
The second brings 31 marketing tips to attract and delight customers.