It’s All About Storytelling…It Always Has Been, Always Will Be

The importance of brand storytellingIf the past number of years has taught us anything, it’s that the Internet and social media is constantly evolving. New features get launched, favorite ones get phased out, and new social platforms turn into the latest must-do for marketers while others disappear, absorbed by a competing platform or wither from lack of use.

This constant change often leads brands to rush to their digital agency in a fear-stricken panic, asking the golden question: “What should I do NOW? What does <INSERT LATEST CHANGE HERE> mean for our social media strategy?” The answer should always be: “Keep telling your story.”

Why Storytelling is the Essence of Marketing

It doesn’t matter if you are the local corner store grocer or a tech giant out to revolutionize the industry, your business has a story. Granted, the corner store grocer has a much simpler story – probably one that speaks of fresh locally sourced produce lovingly sold by people who care about food – but that just makes their storytelling job easier, not different.

The medium doesn’t matter that much either (aside from a few little adjustments to fit the platform). Take traditional networking as an example. You gather a group of individuals together who go from group to group sharing their stories in answer to the age-old networking question, “What do you do?” The answer is usually some form of the company story.

Social media is no different. Companies get caught up in worrying about how the latest change to Facebook is going to impact their digital marketing strategy when really they should be worrying about how to tell a better story. Story is what gets passed along from person to person, story is what goes viral and makes the 6 o’clock news and story is what your customers will connect with.

Early in my career as a professional copywriter I was tasked with telling the story of the management consulting division of an accounting firm. Speaking with one of their lead consultants, one of those fancy MBA types, he talked about how they helped their clients make better decisions. When I spoke with their clients, I got a completely different story – one about how working with a consultant enabled them to sleep better at night.

Which story do you think resonated with their target audience? You guessed it – the one told by the client where all his worries and fears about which direction to take his business in became someone else’s problem. The need to make better decisions didn’t connect because making good decisions wasn’t his problem: worrying about what to do with all the potential ideas and directions so he could sleep at night was.

So the next time you start to worry about your social media strategy, think story. What story are we trying to tell people about our company?

The importance of brand storytellingCarla Young, a professional copywriter, blogger and business journalist, specializes in marketing communications for social media. Recognized by the Huffington Post as one of the “Top Twitter Powerhouses,” Carla is the founder and publisher of MOMeoMagazine.com. Carla is the copywriting genius behind many global brands and leading PR agencies. She helps drive sales with copy that connects clients with their audiences. Also adept at translating tech-speak into plain English, Carla has worked with a broad range of high-tech companies in the online payments, oil and gas, software development, health care, energy, and transportation industries.

  • http://actbridgeinc.com/talent-portrait/ ACTBridge

    Great post! Telling our story is something I try to remind people everyday. It’s not “what” you do that matters, it’s “why” you do it. It doesn’t only apply to marketing, it can apply to any business or situation.

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  • http://marksherrick.wordpress.com/ Mark Sherrick

    Fantastic.

    It doesn’t matter where you tell your story if its not a good one. You just have to tell it, and make it worth their time, no matter how or where or when.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Greg-Mercer/100001786695804 Greg Mercer

    Storytelling is primal and will remain important as long as humanity persists.  We need reminders that not all good things are new.  Thanks.

  • http://rmctech.net/ Ryan Critchett

    Carla, way awesome. Reinforces some storytelling stuff I’m doing right now. *net high fives you*

  • http://twitter.com/chrishandzlik Chris Handzlik

    Yes, so key to make sure the company story and the audience story are in sync. (And if they aren’t, to figure out why and try to bridge the gap!) I’m planning an informal focus group of an audience segment soon and plan to include this as a topic. Great post. @ChrisHandzlik

  • http://momeomagazine.com/ Carla Young

    It’s true! Storytelling is what connects us!

  • http://momeomagazine.com/ Carla Young

     Thanks Mark!

    Agreed…and good stories are memorable which helps drive your word-of-mouth buzz!

  • http://momeomagazine.com/ Carla Young

     Thanks Greg. Yes, not every shiny object will outshine what is tried and true!

  • http://momeomagazine.com/ Carla Young

     *Net high five back* Thanks Ryan!

  • http://momeomagazine.com/ Carla Young

    Yes, the story has to connect with your target audience (i.e. be more about them than you).

    Good luck with your focus group!

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  • http://twitter.com/GetBillG Bill Gibeault

    Carla,
    Nice post. Our challenge is to tell a powerful enough stories to inspire a change in leaders.   — The use of authentic storytelling as opposed to the boring left brain powerpoint experience………. “The Experience is The Marketing”.  The story is The Experience. Thanks again for your share.   

  • http://momeomagazine.com/ Carla Young

    Thanks, Bill. I’ve been a student of story all my life…(long before I even knew it was a useful skill)!

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