A yawn, a sigh, “oh dear, they can tell I’m bored to death and falling asleep!” Sorry – that’s just my internal monologue every time I go through the tedious process of starting up a conversation with a stranger.
I’ve always been the type of person who loves conversation with those close to me, but dreads having to make small talk with strangers.
Recently I underwent the process of self-assessment (as most of us do at the start of a new year). I decided to get to the bottom of my hatred for small-talk and why I thought it was a complete and utter waste of time.
I found that there was one main difference between the conversations I so willingly engaged in, and the conversations I avoided like the plague. What’s that difference? Storytelling.
When engaging with people we know, we tend to tell elaborate stories about how our day was ruined by the rude lady at home affairs, or how we saw that weird guy from high school trip over his own feet at the mall. But when it comes to strangers, we’re a little more cautious about the stories we tell. Often avoiding them all together.
But stories are so important for building your brand. Let’s take a look at why you need to add storytelling to your marketing strategy in 2019.
Storytelling Helps Us Connect With One Another
Speaking to your audience as if they’re strangers is never going to make them feel comfortable and build a relationship between them and your brand. Speak to them as if they’re your friend, tell them the story of your brand. Stories, not stats or sales talk, are what evoke emotions for your audience.
Seth Godin said “Stories (not ideas, not features, not benefits) are what spread from person to person.”
And that’s what every brand needs, a story that will spread.
Our brains are hardwired to process stories, not logic. That’s why we retain information so much better when it’s given to us in a story form.
I think back to my high school years, sitting at the dining room table with my older brother. He would have to attach a story to each of the maths problems I had to solve for homework. I believed that I was completely incapable of solving the problem in front of me, until he gave me a story to relate the numbers to. Then I was capable.
Give your audience a story, and you’ll connect with them more than any graph, infographic or statistic would.
Stories Move More Than Just People
Stories move people, but according to Ilya Vedrashko, Director of Research at Hill Holidays’ consumer research arm, “Stories move not only people, but they also move product.”
Hill Holidays conducted a study in which they found that people were willing to pay 11% more for a painting online that was accompanied by a story about the artist in the product description, rather than just the name of the artist.
This proves that people not only connect with stories, but they buy into them too.