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Show Your Scars! 3 Reasons Why Storytelling is a Catalyst to Increased Profits and Substantial Growth.

“Show your scars, Camille!”

I looked at my mentor like she was speaking another language. She was coaching me through the process of finishing my book. I shared with her the struggles of maintaining and shrouding my “image” while trying to be honest about the journey.

“You can’t be honest and NOT be honest at the same time, She continued. Let people see who you are. All of you. Humanity sells.”

What? I am going through all this trouble to HIDE my scars, I said. I’m trying to present this pristine image of who I am now. You want me to SHOW what I am trying to diminish?

“Uh, Yes. It’s the only way to break through the noise of yet another book on the shelf.”

So, I listened….ish. I was much more transparent than I had initially planned to be. The book was raw, honest, not a best seller by any means. But it shared a side of me that few people outside of my inner circle knew about. I figured that a couple of readers would pity my journey, congratulate me on the book and that would be that.

But what happened instead, sold me on transparency forever.

Women from everywhere flooded my inbox with story after story about how my book changed them. Even women that I had known for years came up to me saying things like…

“Camille, I went through the same thing. I had no idea someone else had suffered the same struggles”.

“I have known you for years, but after reading your book I feel like we are sisters!”

“I cried, I laughed and then I cried some more. I saw myself on every other page.”

These testimonials uncover why connecting with your target audience on a much deeper level is critical to brand survival. In the quotes above, we can surmise the following:

  • Audiences connect when they discover that they are not alone in their struggle.

  • Your target market will feel a part of your brand’s family when you open up about your story.

  • Emotional connections to your organization occur when people can see themselves or what they want in your journey.

Brand storytelling is the interconnected tale that knits together the truths and sentiments that your brand arouses. With the goal of giving your customers distinct reasons why they should buy a product or service or connect with you, organizations must start sharing the story of why their brand exists and why that matters. The story behind the brand must be consistent and relevant in everything from the website, to promos, to printed documents and marketing.

Storytelling has the capacity to catapult your business’ presence, profit, and influence. Make it the due north of your marketing strategy. Use it to captivate audiences that will now get to know and connect to your brand on a much deeper and intimate level.

Does storytelling work? YES. I’ll give you three quick reasons why.

1. It evokes emotion.

I am a MAJOR Marvel fan. (and before you ask, I am #TeamIronMan all the way). I can tell you very specific details about Marvel movies from storylines, to plot twists, quotes and my emotions connected to specific actions. WHY? Because the STORY weaved over the course of 20 movies has been incredibly intriguing. I have been so engaged in the story that in an odd way, the characters have jumped off the screen and become humanly authentic to me.

Can you say that about ANY excel spreadsheet or business overview powerpoint presentation? Seriously, think…what pages of reports or stats has stirred you at your core? Has any of it become so memorable that it has evoked your emotions and attached you to the brand it derived from? Let’s give that a soft NO.

Sounds simplistic, yet this is critical to profitability. It IS simple. Emotions drive purchases, or votes, or connections etc…

Writer Michael Harris touches on this when discussing findings from Harvard Business School professor, Gerald Zaltman. “Despite widespread agreement amongst neuroscientists that our conscious rational mind plays a minor role in decision making, why do our sales messages to buyers focus almost exclusively on facts and figures?”

He goes on to add this question that I will, in kind, ask you. “Why do we largely ignore the emotional subconscious, the real star of decision making?” Storytelling capitalizes on the power of emotions in the purchasing or connecting process.

Ignore it at your peril.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou

2. It builds an army of mini-marketers and fans for your brand.

Think about content or brands that you have shared with others? Why did you do it? Most likely because the brand resonated with you and the information shared either inspired you, educated you, entertained you, or convinced you that you should be connected to it. In this content matrix, created by Smart Insights, you will note the journey from awareness to purchase and from emotional to rational.

The cycle that happens when your audience connects positively to your brand, can cause a purchase, connection and/or a sharing of their experience with others. Those “others” are now in the same cycle. They will now choose to purchase, connect and/or share your story with their connections and so on.

Thus your storytelling content has the capacity to build a community of “mini ambassadors” for your brand. This equates to a wider organic reach and can catapult your social exposure and profit at an innumerable level. Learning how to find and leverage that power is where CDJ & Associates can help.

3. It clarifies who and what you are.

I was a part of an organization that had a clear 3 point story. EVERYONE that was connected to our team knew it, could basically recite it. It had become a part of who we were. It was our identity and it served as the story that drew more people and resources to us.

I underestimated the power of that story until it was diluted by the new incoming leader. Instead of capitalizing on the strengths of the brand’s foundational story, he added so many outlying statements and precepts that the story became muddied and our identity went in the mud with it.

No one was reciting our brand monikers anymore. No one knew them all any longer. We stopped seeing an influx of new members. I would guess it was because no one could figure out exactly what they would be joining. Who we were and WHY we were was no longer clear. The members couldn’t sell it. The leader was too arrogant to back off his need to establish his brand into the picture. Our story was not being told and was hidden behind so much irrelevant information, it was hard to connect to it.

Within 3 years, the brand, members and prominence diminished greatly and now it is a mere ghost of what it used to be.

So HOW do we use storytelling?

When creating your marketing strategy, focus on the connectors. Or, remember as my mentor said, show your scars! What about your brand is real and authentic? What makes you human? How does your organization touch and transform the lives of others? What are the philanthropic or positive efforts that you support for the good of society? Why does connecting to you matter?

Weaving that story into your branding and marketing strategy will leave a lasting impression and has the power to convert fans, into friends and friends into loyal customers.

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