I’m currently interviewing a bunch of business owners for my new book. I’m loving hearing their insights and tips, but more important are their stories.
Stories engage us on many levels: Our minds, emotions, values and spirit. We’re hard-wired to connect with stories. We literally can’t help ourselves and a good storyteller will suck us right in.
When I was a child we used to watch Max Bygraves, a British comedian, on the TV every Saturday night. He began all his routines with the line “I wanna tell you a story”. Right from the start, me and my family would be tuned in, eager to hear what followed next.
Stories can bring attention to a cause, be the catalyst for people to change their mindsets, behaviours or lifestyle. And they can make you money.
Knowing the story or stories behind a brand are what attracts new customers to you and keeps existing clients loyal. They feel part of your tribe.
Here’s an example:
One of my interviewees this week was Seth Tibbott, founder of the hugely successful Tofurky brand, a range of vegan protein foods particularly popular at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Nowadays there are a plethora of meat alternatives to choose from, but when I learned that Seth’s tempeh business had taken 15 years to turn any real profit and that he’d built and lived in a tree house for eight years to enable him to persist with his dream, I decided right there and then that I’d be ordering a Tofurky Roast this Christmas.
He got a customer then and there, just from sharing his story with me.
And I’m what marketing guru Seth Godin calls a ‘sneezer’. When I love a product, I shout it from the rooftops of my social media accounts. So that’s even more potential customers and cash for Tofurky.
This is the power of story.
It’s not just a ‘fluffy’ thing to add into your marketing strategy because it’s ‘hip’ at the moment. It actually works.
And of course journalists love a good story – we’re in the business of stories. A large part of Tofurky’s path to success was due to Seth Tibbott sharing his story in the media in the ’90s.
So I’m curious … What’s your story? I don’t mean a boring list of your academic and professional achievements because that stuff is not emotionally engaging. I’m talking about the quirks, the struggles, the defining moments of your life.
Take some time to make a list of these. You may well uncover some juicy angles to get featured in the media as well as livening up your ‘About’ page on your website.
If you want to stand out from others in your industry, identifying and sharing your stories isn’t an option, it’s essential.
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