stories to tell | storytelling in business


The Company / Brand Story
This is the story of your company or brand. Stories are crucial for your brand
because they contribute so much to your brand's image. A company story
usually involves how the company came into existence and grew to its
current state, often told personally by the founder or first employees.
Through the company's story, you convey to your audience the values and
culture of your company. It also offers many opportunities for you to include
the formats we discuss later (rags-to-riches, conquering the monster, etc.).
A good example of a brand story is the story of Nike's waffle-tread shoes.
The story says that Nike founder Bill Bowerman one day, in a fit of
inspiration, poured rubber into a waffle iron, thus giving birth to the waffletread. What this story tells you about the company is that it is innovative and
not afraid to try out crazy ideas that could revolutionize shoes as we know

The Personal Story
A personal story is a story from someone's life. It could be how they
overcame difficulties or how they reached the place where they are today. It
could be something as simple as a scene the writer observed a few days ago
that has relevance to their topic and their audience.
Many personal stories involve overcoming difficulties. For example, you
might write a story about a time when you could not manage your time well.
You were always busy and had many things to do, but no free time to do
what you enjoyed. This is the setting of the story. You then discovered a very
simple and handy technique for managing time better, which helped you get more done and have more time to yourself.

The Product Story
You can tell stories that relate to products. Your story could be how the
product was developed, why it came into existence, a problem the product
makers had to solve, or how a customer used it in a creative way.
A good example of a product development story is the one about the origin
of the idea for the Sony Walkman. It started with a Sony executive who liked
to listen to classical music on his long flights overseas. However, he hated
dragging around a cassette player. He asked his engineers to create
something smaller and more portable – and the Walkman was born. This is
what gave us not only the Walkman, but also, by extension, all of the pocketsized portable music players we enjoy today.
One way to discover great product stories is to ask your customers to write
the stories for you. This is an example of what is called ‘crowdsourcing’, in
which you turn some part of your content creation over to your audience.
Crowdsourcing is a highly effective content marketing strategy because it
gets your audience actively engaged.
An example of crowdsourced content is Patagonia's Worn Wear campaign.
Outdoor clothing designer Patagonia asked its customers to send in their
stories of the adventures they experienced wearing Patagonia's clothes.
People sent in their stories and these stories were featured online and in
YouTube videos.

By Bev Hepting

Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Marketing

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