Why are stories so important to businesses and why is important to tell them?
In lockdown, our screens have become windows on a world that has shrunk. Businesses often tell their stories through their interaction with customers. Denied the usual opportunities, what’s happening to this relationship?
‘Companies have tunnel vision that is specific to their industry and maybe even their product. Their ability to understand how that product plays within a bigger picture and how to tell that story isn’t necessarily something that comes naturally to them.’
This isn’t just a question of using marketing to shift more product; our lives are profoundly shaped by technology and industry. Whether a business is becoming carbon neutral or backing Black Lives Matter, their behaviour matters beyond the share price.
Paolo agrees: ‘Companies should be part of a wider debate. They have a voice that should be heard, and we want to help them articulate their vision and their mission.’
Expert in emotional neuroscience and corporate culture, Ravi Rao says that storytelling is only one of seven ways in which people can communicate the same idea. (See below to find out what those seven ‘languages’ are.)
‘When someone says they have a lot of great content and they can’t figure out how to put it in a presentation, I always say, How would you do it as a play? How would you tell that story in the form of an anecdote? These enable an audience to engage with you and emotionally connect with you.’
Ravi has shown that as we move between these seven languages, we build a fuller and deeper relationship with the business, whether we are a customer or an employee.
As we move into the future, we will find that customers have taken stock of what matters most to them, and they will want the businesses they interact with to reflect their values. For businesses to remain part of their customers’ lives, they will need to communicate with authenticity in a way that strengthens, rather than undermines, the relationship. Telling their story is a critical part of any business strategy, and getting it right is more important than ever.