What is the power behind storytelling in business? Which stories of yours are the most successful ones? What are the stories that you should be telling about your business?
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Meet Gabrielle Dolan
Gabrielle Dolan is considered a global expert in business storytelling and real communication. She is a highly sought-after keynote speaker and best-selling author of seven books.
Her client list is extensive including the likes of Visa, Amazon, EY, Uber, Accenture, Telstra, Australia Post and the Obama Foundation. The professional highlight of her career so far is meeting Barack Obama while delivering storytelling training for the Obama Foundation.
Gabrielle is the founder of Jargon Free Fridays and her dedication to the industry was recognized when she was awarded Communicator of the Year for 2020 by the International Association of Business
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In This Podcast
- Common mistakes companies make when it comes to storytelling
- Successful stories are relatable stories
- What types of stories every business should have
- How storytelling can increase brand loyalty
Common mistakes companies make when it comes to storytelling
- They think they are sharing stories: they may call something their story but it is actually not a story, it is a timeline and a list of their products and services.
- Companies that think it is only one story: there are many stories and many aspects to creating a business and you can share them all in various ways.
- They have amazing stories that they are not sharing.
That’s the power of storytelling, where a message can be communicated through a story and that story is still being told and [is] still delivering the same message tens of thousands of years later. (Gabrielle Dolan)
Storytelling has the power to transcend lifetimes because it carries wisdom across generations and therefore links people across space and time to those that came before us, and it gives us the ability to communicate with those who come after us.
In the corporate world, storytelling also has powerful benefits:
I think what happens in business and why it is really powerful in business is [because] we have a bit of a bias towards facts and figures and data in business which we need … but what storytelling does [is that] it taps into emotion. (Gabrielle Dolan)
When you tap into emotion through storytelling in a business:
- Helps you understand the message better,
- Helps you remember the message,
- If you had to, you could retell it to others without it losing its meaning.
Successful stories are relatable stories
You may think for a moment that you have nothing of value to share, but that is not the case. We are more alike to others than we realize, and it is often through being truthful, honest, and real about ourselves that we can connect to others with that same authenticity and rawness.
One thing we all have in common is we were all kids and we’ve all done something stupid, and we’ve all done things we’ve regretted, and we’ve all done something we’ve learned a lesson from so those ones are really relatable and in our life, we have so many of those stories … the real skill is how do you take those stories and connect it to the business message you’re trying to communicate? (Gabrielle Dolan)
The best stories you can tell are often the ones that similar people have shared, or find valuable, or relate to them in some way because people create connection through emotion, and often we share our emotions through secure and stable connections.
What becomes important is how you bring your story into your business, and how you can write it so that it brings the business, the customer, and you all closer together.
What types of stories every business should have
1. Creation story
How the company was founded, essentially the origin story. This can also relate to how the company started through the production of the products.
2. Culture story
Stories that the owners and leaders share about the values of the company and what these values and principles mean to them. These stories are sometimes or can be, more personal.
3. Customer stories:
This relates to how you share stories about your customers. This more than sharing customer testimonials, this is when you make the customer the hero of the story and essentially is about how you serve and empower the clients of your company.
4. Community story:
What are you doing in your community through the good impact of the company? This story can also relate to what are your employees doing – it does not have to be related to any product or service that you deliver – it is the opportunity for you to highlight your employees.
5. Challenge story:
This is the story about how your company overcame obstacles and how it responded to situations that went wrong. It is the story where you highlight some of the strengths of the company, and what it did to succeed in sour odds.
My advice … is don’t get too hung up on deciding which story fits into which category. The idea of having these five categories is to really help you think of just all the different types of stories you could share. (Gabrielle Dolan )
How storytelling can increase brand loyalty
Through authentic storytelling, you can create an emotional connection, and once this emotional connection has been set up and strengthened, it can be difficult to pull away from.
Once customers hear a backstory or the explanation of the company’s philosophy, and they connect with it positively, that story will stick with them for a long time afterward and will inform their future purchasing decisions, most likely to favor the company with the story that they felt the most connected to.
Books mentioned in this episode
- Shannyn Lee on Why ‘Sales’ isn’t a Bad Word | MP 68
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Meet Sam Carvalho
Sam Carvalho is a graphic designer living in Cape Town, South Africa, with over five years of experience in both design and marketing, with a special interest and experience in the start-up environment.
She has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs take their practices to the next level by enhancing their visual branding. She loves working with a variety of clients on design-intensive tasks and is always up for a challenge!
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