How to Tell your Business Story (and Give Netflix a Run for its Money)

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Written By Natalie S

Just as the latest Netflix dramas captivate an audience, your business story can captivate customers.

By telling your business story, you can engage new customers and inspire them to refer you to family and friends.

Research has shown that 55% of people who love a brand story are more likely to buy from that brand in the future.

The same stats show 44% of people who love a brand story will share it, and 15% will make an instant purchase.

Let’s look at how you can use the power of storytelling for your business.

Benefits of storytelling

Why is storytelling so useful in business?

Let’s take an example from AfterPay, the Australian start-up that disrupted the credit and layby industries.

Red canvas with text "story" and a magnifying glass

AfterPay was launched by two Aussie guys who found a way to help people buy now and pay later without interest costs.

What you’ve just read is a compelling story because we can all relate to the pains of interest fees.

This taps into a struggle that many of us are familiar with – the sense that things don’t have to be so difficult.

The business was also a little start-up, conjuring images of two relatable people trying to make a go of it from their living rooms. We view the actors in the story as Robin Hood characters tackling faceless banks and conglomerates that have no qualms about syphoning our cash.

From this example, you can see that storytelling has many benefits for your business.

Stories can:

Your story might not be as groundbreaking as AfterPay (yet!) but even the story of the “mum & dad small business” down the road can be compelling for the right audience.

Use storytelling as part of a rebrand or refresh. Or craft your story over time through your marketing channels. Here’s how.

Business storytelling tips

Illustration of a man in red sitting and reading a book

1. Use story elements

Your business story doesn’t have to be a blockbuster. But you can use some of the same elements to bring it to life.

Work out your:

  • Characters: Who is the main character? Who tells the story? Who else is part of the picture?
  • Setting: When does your story take place? Does it refer to the past or it is current? Where is your story set?
  • Plot: What is the main idea behind the story? What are the events in the story, how do they lead from point A to point B?
  • Conflict: What are the characters trying to do? Do they face challenges?

2. Be yourself

While big budgets and high concepts are great for film and television, the same doesn’t necessarily apply to business storytelling.

If you have a modest and simple story, trying to make it sound more amazing could work against you.

People love an authentic story, even if it isn’t jaw-dropping and heart-stopping.

Storytelling is about generating trust from your customers, so be your authentic self and your simple story can work just as well.

3. Tell the moral of the story

What did you take away from the AfterPay story above?

Probably you got a sense of justice in knowing that their business says“big retailers, not small customers, should pay for credit interest”.

In the same way, try to figure out what your audience can take away after hearing your story and what message you want to stay with them.

4. Spread the word

If you’ve gotten this far, it’s time to start telling your story across all your platforms.

You don’t have to spell out the whole story every time. But by referring to its characters, setting, plot and messages, you can tell parts of your story everyday.

For example, posting a photo of your staff as they have a laugh on the job is enough to tell a little part of your business story. Something this easy can bring a smile to customers’ faces.

Tell your story in bits and pieces across all of your platforms from your website to your social media, and make sure that fundamental story stays consistent.

5. Give ’em “the feels”

Bring your business story to life by bringing in one of the most powerful storytelling elements: emotion.

You can do this by tapping into the five senses. Next time you write that product description, add a few words to how it looks, smells, feels, tastes or sounds.

Do this where appropriate. Obviously you can’t describe how a software program smells, but a description of the soothing lavender aroma in your massage parlour can bring the scene to life.

Illustration of 2 women and 1 man jumping and holding 3 stars

Scent is a particularly powerful sense that brings out emotion and sticks in people’s memories.

6. Cast your customer

Just like in the AfterPay example, customers love to feel like they’re a part of a good story.

Customers of AfterPay are the underdogs who come out victorious in the struggle against towering multinationals. It’s inspiring—we’re part of a revolution.

Consider how you can bring your customers into your story, whether it’s casting them in the starring role or a quick cameo.

Got no story to tell?

Struggling to figure out your story? Don’t worry, every business has one.

If storytelling was easy, we wouldn’t have paid storytellers to spot them and craft them and apply them to business.

Marketers are business storytelling experts. With our help, you can tell a story that brings in new customers and generates more sales.

Not sure how to tell your story? Book in a 15 minute chat with us and see how we can help.