Whether it may come in the form of a book, a movie, a TV show, a song, a video game, or a work of art, everyone loves a good story.
Storytelling is one of the oldest surviving human traditions — and for good reason. Stories summarize, explain, and provide meaning to the state of our world. They also paint a meta-narrative that makes sense of seemingly unrelated and random events that would otherwise be unexplainable.
Most of all, stories revolve around human protagonists and are united by a few key features that resonate in our hearts and minds.
When George Lucas first began to write the script for “Star Wars,” he referred to the writings of a world-renowned mythologist by the name of Joseph Campbell. In his book, “The Hero With a Thousand Faces,” Campbell claimed that nearly every mythological narrative from every culture contained what he referred to as, “The Hero’s Journey.”
In the Hero’s Journey, the protagonist of a myth has a coming-of-age moment, is called to an adventure, faces a great threat, triumphs over evil, returns with the elixir, and then restores the world back to normal.
(There are, of course, a few more steps involved in the story arch, but we’ve summarized them to keep the article short and sweet.)
Now, what does any of this have to do with your brand and your marketing strategy?
Storytelling remains a highly effective method of communicating meaning, purpose, and historical events. There’s also no limit to what kind of media you use to tell a story. Simply put: there isn’t a better way to present your brand than by creating a narrative.
Your brand is the protagonist of the story. Who are you, what do you believe, what motivates you, and why do you do what you do? Demonstrate to your audience why they should see you not only as the main character of your story but also the protagonist — AKA the good guy.
Also, give them reasons to root for you and believe in your cause. Establishing yourself as the protagonist is extremely important, as it will determine whether or not your audience takes your side as they continue to listen to the story.
The Coming of Age
What’s the history of your company and how did you get to where you are? Maybe you started out as a neighborhood store selling goods out of your garage or a small company in a cramped apartment with two computers and a coffeemaker.
Now, thanks to donations from supporters or a business loan from investors, you’re a full-grown enterprise with state-of-the-art technology and office space in Manhattan.
What exciting projects, events, or movements is your brand currently involved with? Is your brand fighting to end hunger, disease, or deadly vehicular accidents?
Perhaps you’re just trying to solve something a bit more simple like keeping your coffee hot for 8 hours. Whatever interesting and compelling problems you may be trying to solve, talk about them.
Triumph Over Evil
What kind of obstacles and opposition did you have to overcome to get where you are today? Which ones do you still face? Tell your audience how you struggled to get funding and support for your idea and how you now have a dedicated fanbase and the investment you need.
Triumphing over evil doesn’t mean demonizing or creating a caricature of your opponents, but rather presenting your brand as an agent for good that had to defeat numerous challenges along the way.
Returning With “the Elixir”
How did you come up with the revolutionary service or product that you created? Was it a divine spark or eureka moment that gave you the idea? What was the development process like and how did you get it to market?
Also, what makes this product an elixir and how does it solve the world’s problems? Compare it with other elixirs out there and prove that you’ve truly found the panacea to the problem you set out to solve.
Restoring the World Back to Normal (or How It Should Be)
Paint a picture of how the world would look if everyone adopted your product or service. How would everything be restored or be as it should be with the help of your brand? Maybe everyone would have access to clean drinking water, free education, or healthcare.
Whatever problem your product/service may solve, bring it to its fullest realization and describe in detail what life would be like with the elixir. Also, provide evidence that your product/service is already making a difference and is beginning to solve the problem.
Storytelling isn’t just a way to entertain an audience but also serves the purpose of educating, explaining, and communicating values. With a great story, you can influence how others feel about your brand and your offerings.
Stories are also easy to remember and recount, making them an extremely effective tool in word-of-mouth marketing. Data, statistics, and diagrams, on the other hand, just don’t make the same impression as a good tale.
As an entrepreneur, your ability to tell stories has a direct impact on your ability to present your UVP (Unique Value Proposition) in an engaging manner and separate yourself from the crowd. By learning how to build memorable narratives, you’ll grab the attention of potential customers—and even investors—who may be interested in your next big idea.