I've written about successful storytelling campaigns before and it always inspires me when I see great marketing campaigns that tell awesome stories. You know the type, the ones that draw you into an amazing tale and you come away with a feeling that you should be doing business with a company that told a story like that, right?
Storytelling isn't anything new, and in business it's more than essential. With any product or service you sell you have a feature and a benefit; the "we have this great widget!" is paid off with "so you can..." But when you tell a story about how someone who has used the widget and has benefitted from the widget and has increased revenues tenfold, now that paints a pretty cool picture. And it draws someone into your business and your brand and creates a memory for them.
I've recently been talking to one of our salespeople here at our business dashboard startup Dasheroo about storytelling and how to create a picture of how any business would use our solution. If he's going to be talking to an advertising agency he might tailor his story to say: I bet you spend a ton of time logging in and out of each one of your client's social media accounts all day long to find out what is working and what isn't. Most of our agency clients only have to log into one dashboard to get all of their client's metrics. Now we've created a real world story that they probably go through, we've hit a pain point (time wasted) and created a solution (us!).
So I've been keeping a keen eye on what stories are pulling at my heartstrings. Who is doing some cool consumer storytelling campaigns to give us all inspiration?
Honey Bunches of Oats - Diana Hunter
You get to listen to a story from "Diana" who tells you that when she goes to a store people start to sniff the air saying they smell cookies. She replies that it's her and she just got off work at Honey Bunches of Oats.
The cool thing is these are real Post employees that have a real passion for what they do and their love of the product they make. Now you know who is behind the product you purchase and their endearing qualities.
Lesson: Let your employees talk about how passionate they are about your business. If employees love what they do customer will love to do business with you. Make sure YOU tell your story about why you started your business through your passion and you're on your way!
Airbnb - Wall and Chain, A Story of Breaking Down Walls
Airbnb tugged at our heartstrings back in 2014 during the 25th anniversary of the falling of the Berlin Wall when a customer gave them a story about her father Jorg, a former Berlin border guard who she reunited with the opposing border guard Kai, in 2012 at an Airbnb! She booked him a trip to East Berlin and they ended up at Kai's house!
Lesson: Let your customers tell their story about how they use your product to be successful and plaster it all over your site. Ask them at every given point you can to contribute a story about how you solved a problem or made their life better. You'll be surprised at what you get!
Gatorade "Made in New York" Featuring Derek Jeter
C'mon don't even tell me this Gatorade commercial didn't give you goosebumps and bring a tear to your eye whether you're a Yankee fan or not! I just had the privilege of seeing Jeter in the flesh in Europe. He just happened to be at a tiny restaurant I was dining at and I immediately reminisced about this commercial. The best part of it is this story was told through video and song with Frank Sinatra and Derek Jeter simply interacts with the people of New York. On top of it all? You can't tell the story without the final at-bat!
Lesson: Ask your customer to video themselves talking about why they use your product and the benefit they get from it. Video your customers talking about the benefit they get from using your product or service. Then socialize it to the world!
Storytelling is for B2B Companies Too!
Storytelling doesn't have to be just for big consumer brands, everybody's got a story. At Dasheroo we tell our story every time we're on the phone, we put it on our website because we're so passionate about what we do and why we do it! Shopify tells their story about how they started their ecommerce technology company by selling snowboards. Infusionsoft has a very cool video on their site that talks about the how Scott and Clate got together and what balloon twisting has to do with it! Dharmesh and Brian do a great video for Hubspot's story as well.
Storytelling has to be authentic, storytelling has to stir the soul and has to be relatable. And you can tailor your stories to the situation you're in. So what's your story? I know you have one.