“Storytelling is the most powerful way to bring ideas into the world.” – Robert McKee
Recently, I had the privilege of working with a fast-growing startup that has taken advantage of the global COVID-19 crisis to create opportunities for the development of its business.
The mandate, in part, was to create content for social networks and for distribution in marketing materials. At the first briefing meeting, the co-founders presented their company with an impactful speech that praised their solution, its relevance, the latest technology and the change it will bring to the industry.
I must admit, I was in awe of the way he spoke and without a doubt, they have undeniable technical expertise on the solution. However, one “little something” was missing: I didn’t know exactly what problem was that the solution addressed, or to whom it was aimed at, let alone why they embarked on this adventure to create this solution. All in all, they knew how to talk about the solution but missed the storytelling part of their journey.
Facts alone are not enough, being able to tell stories and create powerful storytelling is one of the crucial skills for founders and leaders. Storytelling is the art of telling your cause, your story, your company, your culture, your value proposition and presenting your product. For us marketing experts, it is a cornerstone of branding and a primary source for creating a powerful and engaging content strategy to generate leads.
After a few sessions and exercises with our client, we were able to “reveal” a powerful story that was both interesting and entertaining. Through this article, we will share with you five commandments to consider to help you reveal your Storytelling: who looks like you and who speaks to your audience.
Whether you’re Apple, Lightspeed or Digital, every company has its own story and a reason for being. Storytelling helps you gain visibility, create a substantial impact on your audience and put the spotlight on your solution and your business. Beyond these points, it allows you to create an essential and authentic link with your audience, whether they are potential customers, investors, partners or even your employees.
Which leads us to our definition, Storytelling is the art of the narrative that introduces you and your solution and uses this narrative format to integrate all the components of your story together.
1. Your “WHY” … you will share!
Your storytelling should reflect the DNA of your company, what motivates you to wake up in the morning, go out to meet challenges, and keep your energy up. We all know that a founder has to wear several hats at the same time, performing multitasking: finding investors and financing, trying to meet deadlines to validate the proof of concept, or evolving an MPV (minimum viable product) and managing teams.
So, sharing your business mainspring is a key part of your story. Because once your clients commit to your why they become your best ambassador to talk about your company.
2. On a journey … you will take your audience with you!
Storytelling requires first of all authenticity, creativity and emotional intelligence, not to serve your project, but to serve those for whom your approach is intended.
Convincing start-up stories must be relevant and arouse emotions. This happens when a company clearly focuses on the problem it wants to solve and for which customer group. It also includes a clear understanding by the founders of the real life of their market and target group. For me, succeeding in combining these different perspectives and translating them into a functional business model is the basic recipe for a successful story.
3. Emotion… you will show!
Storytelling requires first authenticity, creativity and emotional intelligence, not to serve your project, but to serve those for whom your approach is intended.
A convincing story must be relevant and arouse emotions. This happens when a company clearly focuses on the problem it wants to solve and on its beneficiary or potential clients. There is nothing better than using emotion to “connect” with your target audience. The different emotions during the process of becoming aware of the problem to which your solution responds, or the emotion you experienced during the creation of your company.
Your story must therefore use the different emotions to build powerful messages, which will mark the minds of your prospects and allow them to identify with your journey.
4. About your failures … you will talk about!
Personal stories are more likely to have a transformative impact on the listener if they are accompanied by a catalyst that involves effort. Storytelling is the alchemy of mind and heart. Focus on life lessons and strengths. Behind every great company, there is a great people with a story. Talk about the problem and your struggles before the solution.
5. Consistent and coherent … you will be!
Consistency makes the story truly competent and credible. Every company should have Storytelling built in a consistent way that allows specific little stories to fit together perfectly. However, to support this consistency, it is also essential that all teams take ownership of the story and uses it with appropriate language to communicate the different messages.
Once these principles are respected and all the elements are assembled, Storytelling has a narrative structure … but this is another story, and it will be the subject of another article!
Now it’s up to you then to reveal your stories and to bring to light … who really you are.