Storytelling, touching stories, company life and success stories and stories about famous persons fascinate us. But why can we hardly find these kinds of stories on company websites or brochures? Newspapers and reviews publish them every now and then and make us to spread the word about them and to share them in social media. Why do not companies use these stories as a tool in their marketing?
I love stories. And I love stories including meaningful and beautiful pictures. Pictures themselves tell a story – and a picture always leaves some space for the observers and readers own imagination. I believe in the power of storytelling in business, marketing and communications and I really cannot understand why this tool is not more widely used. It was a couple of years ago in a seminar where I heard a fascinating presentation about the power of storytelling held by Mary Lee Sjönell, Digital Age Dramaturgy and a professional of storytelling. That presentation put me think about storytelling in business even more and more.
But how and for what purposes should we write stories?
Digital marketing has changed and is changing rapidly the way we can do marketing and share information. Static, old-fashioned company websites are out. The flow of information today is huge and it means that we have become more demanding: we don’t have the willingness to search for all the information but we expect is to be brought on our hands directly. Traditional company descriptions are not considered interesting anymore. What does it actually tell us if a company was founded in 1980, it has 100 employees and its mission and vision are this and that?
This kind of description is cold, lacks personality and is keeps the company far away from us, because it does not actually tell anything interesting.
There are too many clinical, generic company descriptions, stories, designs and websites full of generic stock photos which do not tell us anything about the company, its business, its roots, its real values or its people. I consider it to be difficult to trust on a company or a brand that does not show anything original to its audience.
Business to business is normally separated from the business to consumer but do all the business people behave and act so much differently as a businessperson than as a normal consumer? I don’t at least. We are all humans and tend to base our decisions on the values and things that we appreciate in life in general. If we appreciate hardworking, motivated, professional and humble people why don’t we tell stories and add pictures that show these feelings? Why do companies instead choose stock photos, write general phrases that do not tell any story or do not wake up any interest? Does it make a great difference if there is 100 or 200 employees in the company of if it was founded in 1980 or 1990? I don’t think so. My interest is woken up by these fascinating, personal, little stories that bring the company closer to me. How should we write these stories? I think we should continuously observe our company and what is happening in there everyday. That way we can collect the “silent” information that every now and then can be written down as stories and be used in marketing.
“We are all humans and tend to base our decisions on the values and things that we appreciate in life in general. If we appreciate hardworking, motivated, professional and humble people why don’t we tell stories and add pictures that show these feelings?”
Keep your heart with you, wherever you go – or whatever you do
I appreciate hard-working, humble, polite and “real” persons, who want to do and create something meaningful in their life – and most importantly, keep their heart with them wherever they go or whatever they do. It might not always be good to base our decisions on that what our heart tells us because there are periods in life when you also have to use your rational thinking. However, I believe that when we find the right balance, and trust on our heart, we can hardly go wrong.
Business life is many times considered to be tough, stressful and something where only hard players survive and make success. But being clever, successful and a good businessman or businesswoman does not mean that we couldn’t use our heart and be polite and kind. Creating valuable connections and relationships is an important part of business success. Like in everyday life outside business, we tend to make friends with people we get well along. And the best friends remain those who help and support us also when are going through hard times. And we would also do the same for them. We do not have to agree about everything that other persons, business colleagues or our friends do or think. We accept the differences and the decisions they do and know to appreciate the way they do business or live their lives.
Say thank you, open the door and smile
Keeping your heart with you in business also means that you remember the two important words – thank you.
It is important to say those words to your colleagues, to your employees, partners or clients every now and then. And really mean it when you say it. These words create so much positive feelings that they actually can have a huge effect on other persons’ motivation and also on their behaviour towards you.
We are all different. There are the ones who find it hard to show their feelings or to say compliments for others. Not because they wouldn’t like to do it but because they are too shy or they consider it not to be proper in that situation. However, these persons tend to show their appreciation in some other way, like through presents or through other kind of polite behaviour.
We should observe and listen to our customers and write down some small details about them and the things they like about. Instead of buying the same red wine bottle every year why couldn’t we buy for example a piece of design from his/her favourite artist? It does not have to be anything expensive but it would be nice if that we give tells a small story and shows that we really care about our client. But hey wait…? That means a lot of work. It would be much easier to order some generic business gift from the first salesperson that is calling you before Christmas. Yes it means work, a lot of work. But that is what it is question about at work! We have to work and do something meaningful and something that matters. Then we can succeed. Well, I admit that this can be hard to do in a real life, but it is something to aim to.
Tell a story through pictures
Photography and pictures are my passion. I appreciate both splendid photos and photos that tell us a fascinating story. Actually those latter type of pictures are something that I really admire and which I also consider as an effective tool in marketing. When a picture manages to tell more than thousand words it also remains in our minds and wakes up some feelings. If I don’t manage to say something in words or find it hard, I normally find the solution to tell the same thing through a picture or a drawing. Yes, we are all different, some of us are verbally brilliant, some of us can tell great stories through beautiful pictures and some of us show theirs appreciation through small presents and things.
It’s happiness and motivation that matter
Business life is full of plotting and false friendships, which only intention is to help the persons in question to go further in their career, make more money and succeed. Someone recommends someone and the other way round even if these persons hardly know each other. “If you recommend me I will help you in the future” – type of situations. But do these persons ever learn to work hard, to do something that matters and most importantly do they ever find the happiness and motivation in their life? I at least believe that at the end the happiness and motivation derive from the things we learn, things we can do and like to do. It’s not only a great title, position or fortune that makes us happy. In order to stay happy and motivated at work, we have to do sometimes also some funny and silly things. Though business does not mean that we should be cold, severe and heartless. We should be happy, polite and keep our heart with us, whatever we do.
“You’re mad, bonkers, off your head! But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.” Alice in wonderland.