Thursday, 22 September 2016

The Irresistible Power of Storytelling as a Strategic Business Tool

We all love a good story. We’ve been serenaded with Prince Charming fairytales as children and we’ve been fascinated with the rags to riches story of the Count of Monte Cristo. Stories have the ability to transport you into a world you want to believe in and eventually fall in love with – a world mostly filled with ‘happily ever afters’.

More than that, stories can keep you engaged. They draw you in and build up a nail biting climax that you simply can’t take off your mind.

Isn’t that all the things you want your brand to do? You want to serenade, fascinate, engage and hold your target audience’s attention enough to make them fall in love with you. Despite of knowing this and wanting to do it most brands have a positioning that looks like a factsheet from an accounts textbook desperately trying to sell to your customers on why they should like you.

Let’s start with what makes a good story by following the ‘Hero’s journey Monomyth’ by Joshph Campbell. Most popular stories are based on these stages in the hero’s life. Let’s explain with an example of the movie ‘Avatar’.

Uncomfortable home: Though this is not fully stated, you can see Jake Sully saddened by his brother’s loss and living the life of a cripple

Call to adventure: Jake Sully has to leave his old life and gets a chance to explore Pandora as a Navi-human Avatar

Refusal: Hesitance to join the program, unsure of own abilities

Learning more about the plot: Meeting the na’vis and learning their way of life

Receiving a special item:  The seed of the Hometree clustering on Jake giving an indication of the times to come

Meeting the mentor: Jake meets Neytiri

Crossing the threshold: Mastering becoming a true Na’vi

Test allies and enemies: Juggling between the two worlds understanding how one is working to destroy the other

Abyss: All is lost with the attack on the Na’vis and destruction of the Hometree

Return: Jake becomes the Toruk Mackto and wins back the trust of the Na’vis

Supernatural help: When all hope seems lost in the battle, Eywa draws the wildlife to tip the balance

The happy ending: Jake chooses to become a Na’vi permanently and returns to his people
Most popular movies from Harry Potter to Star Wars to Sholey to Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara borrow the Monomyth as a base of their story line.

This, in a nutshell, should be the way you should also construct the story behind your brand that can be conveyed to clients and customers. For most startups, the ‘Quest’ plot works superbly for their About Us page. Here, the hero is off to achieve a distant goal with a long, hazardous journey, goes through frustration and your triumphs so far.

For example, lay down your ‘quest’ behind the startup, the trials and tribulations, and finally the winning product that emerged out of it. This makes for a great read – for your customers and the press to show the ‘human’ side of your brand and allow an instant connect.

Try to rejig your boring ‘About Us’ page with a storyline and tell us if you see the difference.

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