Recently we were at an event where the presenters were delivering stories of their experiences in certain business situations. One of the stories was about our friend the banker who, whilst visiting a farm ended up helping a farmer deliver a cow. He talked about the distress of the cow being on its back and full of gas. He talked about the baby cow and what it was like to deliver it and how if it had been left for another 30 minutes, it’s likely that both mum and calf would have died. We were there with him and the farmer, and that cow!
Rather than stand up and say ‘we build great relationships with our clients’, which is something many banks say, he used this story to evidence how the bank truly gets involved in their clients’ businesses. The audience loved it and it was the talk of the event. Unfortunately the other speakers were not as powerful, not because they didn’t have an extraordinary situation as the subject matter, but because they delivered their information as a case study; this was the customer problem, we did this then we did this and we did this, and this was the outcome. The delivery of information in that way does not engage the audience the way a story does, and is easily forgotten within minutes, because there is no experience or feeling to remember.
A brand story is not about you, it’s about your customer and their experience and feelings. Your brand story should have your customer at the heart of it and explain a scenario from their point of view. The storyteller can make the story their own, embellish it and deliver it with passion. The listener can picture the scenario, identify with the emotions involved and remember and re-tell the story.
We believe you find your best brand stories by finding out what your customers are saying behind your back. Invariably they will be nice things, in a way that will get you remembered and talked about because you did something out of the ordinary or something ordinary extraordinarily well. Your brand story will be narrative that creates emotions, where the audience wants to know what happened next and it will make them feel inspired, amused, impressed, perhaps even a little nervous or joyous! We remember what we feel and in great stories we always feel something and will be more likely to pass it on.