Stories are all the rage. Use them to grow your business

One of the best memories of my childhood is when my grandmothers told me bedtime stories that you cannot even find in the children’s books. Their grandmothers told them the very same stories, passed on from generation to generation.

Did you enjoy the stories that your parents or grandparents told you each night before bed? I bet you did.

Since the beginning of time, before we invented writing and reading, humans told each other stories passing the learned wisdom about the world year over year, century over a century. They are our lifeline, and we keep inventing new ways of telling them: mouth-to-mouth, writing, visual, film, and now digital.

Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world.
Robert McKee

Why are the stories so compelling?

There is a scientific explanation to this thanks to a group of neuroscientists at Princeton and Claremont Universities who studied this phenomenon.

Their studies found that when we listen to a story that resonates with us, our levels of oxytocin hormone go up just like when we cuddle with a loved one or when mother and a newborn baby bond. Oxytocin is called a “feel good” or “love” hormone because it boosts our feeling of empathy, compassion, and trust.

Moreover, the neuroscientists discovered that when listening to a well-told story, the same areas in the brain light up in both listener and storyteller. Your brain, as a listener, mimics one of the storyteller’s. In other words, when you listen to a great story, your mind places you inside the story and reacts as if you were experiencing it yourself. At that very moment, it cannot tell the difference between reality and the story.

I’m 100% sure that you’ve experienced it at least once when reading an amazing book you couldn’t put down or watching a fantastic movie, haven’t you?

 The studies have also shown that stories can change our attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. No wonder they are so powerful in business when used in marketing and branding.

Stories & Your Business

There are many ways you can use stories in your business. I’d like to share a couple that you can start using right away.

1.     Your Personal Brand Story.

If you’re an influencer or an entrepreneur with a focus on personal branding that’s not news to you. However, you should think about personal branding even if you sell other companies’ products or your business name doesn’t carry your name. When you lead by example and combine it with a  solid strategy, you can help your business grow and differentiate in the market with personal branding. No one is you. You are unique, the only one in the world and that’s powerful!

Don’t forget – no one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell. – Charles de Lint

So write a story of how you started your business; what was the “aha” moment when a light lit up in your brain, and you decided to venture into it.  Maybe you can include the evolution of your business, your mission, vision, and values and how they came about.

Once you have it, share it. There are many places and occasions you’ll have an opportunity to do that:

  • Your “About” web page,
  • Any speaking engagements, guest blogging or podcasts,
  • Networking events, etc.

Not sure where to start? I will gladly chat with you and help! Reach out to me via PM or join me in the amazing group Businesswoman with Passion 4 Life where I share lots of free resources that will guide you thru it!

2.     Your marketing copies

One of the more powerful ways to craft a compelling marketing copy is through the use of a classical type of story. Because in it,  you can make your customer the main character, a “hero” and your products or services a mentor that helps the hero overcome challenges. Just like Luke Skywalker had Yoda and or Gandalf was a mentor to various heroes in the “Lord of the Rings” series.

The second option for an excellent story is to use data and clever visualization of it, especially when your customers are mature businesses with many levels of decision making. As the old saying goes: “a picture is worth a thousand words.” And this holds true, especially with data.

Thirdly, in the digital world, pictures became a powerful way to tell a story. A collage or even a single image can spark a viral conversation on social media or become a trigger to a story you write in a copy. Let me show you an example below.

3. Visual Brand Story for Stairway to Leadership

You’re never going to kill storytelling because it’s built-in the human plan. We come with it. – Margaret Atwood
  1. Simplicity & balance – I value simplicity in my life and business as same as Leonardo Da Vinci, I believe it’s “the ultimate sophistication.” The simplicity makes balance possible. Without balance, we cannot feel fully fulfilled & happy. That’s why I coach my clients to build healthy businesses that allow them to lead a holistic life
  2. Growth – I love to learn, grow first, then share everything I know. I promote excellence not only in what I do but also help my clients move away from perfectionism and embrace excellence. 
  3. Courage – the most pivotal moments in my life happened because of 5 seconds of courage mustered u to make them happen. I want to remember that I have it and use it more often, as well as inspire the same in people around me. We all have it and should be tapping into it more often to achieve our full potential.
  4. Nature – love spending time in nature. It’s calming, grounding, and helps me be creative. Green is my favorite color because of its infinite amount of variations in nature. That’s why I chose it as my primary branding color.
  5. Giving back – I am grateful for my life and everything in it. My need to give back is the extension of gratefulness. I volunteer, and a percentage of Stairway to Leadership profits is donated to charities supporting women and kids.
  6. Diversity – tolerance & respect for diversity, there is no better place in the world for that than Canada. And although we’re not perfect, I’m proud to be living in here and feel totally at home because of the value alignment.
  7. Family & friends – they are the most important people in my life.
  8. Fruits & veggies – love them all, always did, and healthy eating is essential to me. Fun fact: as a kid in communist Poland, I didn’t always have access to tropical fruits, so whenever I got my hands on them, I would devour them instantly.
  9. Chocolate – I LOVE chocolate 😊.

To finish up, I wanted to probably state the obvious but no matter the story you craft in your business, it must be truthful. There will be many ways to tell it, and each can engage a different audience, but it must be rooted in integrity. Lack of trust and confusion is the number one killer of any brand.

I hope that if you haven’t tried yet to use stories in your business, this article inspired you to do so. And if you don’t know where to start or need help with proofreading a story you crafted, let’s connect.  PM me on social media (links below) or sent a note via maggie@stairwaytoleadership.com

I offer free brainstorming sessions with lots of advice you can apply right away!

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