When you tell a good story, people will remember. When you tell a great story, people will act. Storytelling is a powerful marketing tool and a skill that every business owner looking to build a powerful and lasting brand should master.
During my business-storytelling workshops, I’m asked if stories are appropriate for business and formal environments. My answer: What’s more formal than the Supreme Court? If Bryan Stevenson can use the power of stories to successfully argue cases in front of Supreme Court Justices, then we should all take a cue from his experience.
Stevenson’s talk, We Need To Talk About An Injustice:
- Received the longest standing ovation in the history of the TED conference.
- Received more than 5 million views.
- Raised more than $1 Million in 18 minutes.
How is this possible?
Well…Do you know the stories of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, or Cinderella? There’s a high chance you do. But if I had to ask you to recall the last business presentation you attended? You might respond similarly to the other business owners– with a nervous giggle. Why can you easily remember fairy tales but not business presentations? The explanation is simple, we humans don’t think in charts, graphs, or spreadsheets; we don’t remember data without a soul. Stories are memorable, illustrative, and allow you to create stronger emotional bonds with the audience; they present data with a soul!
If your marketing message is a list of product features and full of buzzwords like ‘innovative’, ‘data-driven’, or ‘world-class’, or overused business jargon like ‘synergy’, ‘game changer’, ‘bang for your buck‘, it’s time to reassess your message in terms of customer understanding.
It’s not enough to have good concepts. You have to describe them so that people understand. Flying Kite’s S.T.O.R.Y Framework enables you to do just that.
This framework makes a story stick so that relevant knowledge is shared and applied. You can use the framework to prepare your core talking points.
So, back to Bryan Stevenson – here’s how he did it, as explained by the S.T.O.R.Y Framework. His message is:
- (S)imple – his core message is Be Brave, Humanity Depends on Everyone’s Humanity.
- (T)angible – he shares three compelling personal stories and paints a clear picture.
- (O)ut of the Box – he uses a little-known fact: that the USA is the only country in the world that will sentence 13-year-old children to life imprisonment (i.e. to die in prison).
- (R)eliable – he presents his successes: he successfully argued and won the Supreme Court case Miller v. Alabama in June 2012 related to juvenile detention.
- (Y)earning for More – he builds an expectation in his audience, resulting in the longest standing ovation in the event’s history.