As I wander through life as a small business owner, it often occurs to me how everything we do always leads back to stories.
As humans, we’ve always communicated in stories. From the cave walls of 20,000 years ago, to the Victorian Penny Dreadfuls, and the rise and rise of social media, we are consistently fascinated by what is going on in each others’ lives.
We are attracted to stories because at our basic level, we’re social creatures and like to relate to other people. Because we believe we depend on others for our survival and happiness, storytelling evokes a strong neurological response and has been shown in studies to significantly change attitudes and behaviours. It’s power is evident in the significant effect the stories that we tell ourselves can have on our own behaviour (and not always in a positive way – we can often use these stories to stop ourselves from doing things, achieving, taking action… But if we make the decision to turn these stories around, fabulous things CAN and DO happen).
Data has the power to persuade but it can’t inspire people to act. To do that we need to wrap our vision in a story that fires the imagination and stirs the soul. It’s the tool that powerful people have used to create great uprisings, to force change and to try and make the world a different place. Sometimes to great effect.
So, how does storytelling relate to you? As a business owner, a crafter, a maker, a designer or just a do-er, you want your customers to know about what you do. To understand how your product works. What it’s functions are. It’s benefits. Its features too. But it’s the components of your story that helps them to understand how it can change their life, or make them happy, or simply help them to survive. And it’s the narrative of your story that makes this information persuasive and memorable.
So the next time you need to write something for your business, whether it’s content for your website, a blog post, or a simple product description. Think about why should your customers care about what you are proposing? How does it change the world or improve lives? How will they feel when it is complete? Consider what passion led you to start your business. Why was it important to you and what barriers did you overcome to achieve it.
Your business has its own unique story in the same way that every one of us has our own unique DNA. It’s woven into the very fabric of what makes us, well us. And if you want to motivate, persuade or simply be remembered then you need to capture people’s hearts as well as attracting their brains.