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The Art of Storytelling - Where Companies Go Wrong When “Telling Their Story”

In a digital world where stories sell, the way that companies tell these stories is the key to creating videos that truly connect with its intended audience and lead to a conversion to sales. In many cases, story has a better influence on people than even fact itself. Rather than just telling someone a fact, by embedding the fact into the framework of a story, you create a greater impact and ability to influence behavior and thought.


The word “story” is such a big buzzword when talking about marketing and sales, that companies often don’t really understand the role that their company needs to play in the story that they tell. Oftentimes, companies who wish to “tell their story”, hope to do so by positioning themselves as the “hero” of the story. They are there to "help the customer overcome their needs and achieve their wildest dreams". This is where they go wrong.


Every potential client or customer is living their own “hero” story. When companies try to position themselves as the “hero” who is going to come and save the day for the customer, they enter into a space of competing stories. To help understand this, let me outline the basics of a story.



Every story is very formulaic:


  1. Hero Who Wants Something - Every good story has a main character - a “hero”. This hero wants something or has some sort of a goal that they are looking to accomplish.

  2. Hero Encounters a Problem - The “hero” then encounters a problem which hinders them from achieving their goal.

  3. Hero Meets a Guide - A guide then comes into the story that gives assistance to the hero in hopes to help them achieve their goal.

  4. Guide Gives the Hero a Plan to Move Forward (Call-To-Action) - This guide then gives the hero a plan or a call-to-action. If the hero decides to use this information, the hero will see success and if they fail to follow the information, it can lead them to failure.

  5. Success and Failure is Defined - This success or failure is clearly defined in relation to the goal that the hero originally wanted to achieve.


“Narrative Transportation”


When someone says that they got “lost in a story”, it really means that they entered into what is called narrative transportation. It’s a sign of a great story and also a sign that viewers are identifying with the characters within the story. How can a company create this narrative transportation when creating videos that tell their story? Here are a few tips:


1. Make your Target Audience the “Hero”


When a brand is telling their story, the brand needs to invite the customer into the story and allow them to be the hero. This will allow the audience to identify with the hero of the story who has a problem.


2. Understand the Problem of the “Hero”


Companies need to be talking about the problem of their customers so that when they see the story, they will identify with the problem and seek a solution. Companies need to understand and address both the external and internal problems that their customers are facing. This not only has to do with the physical problems they might be experiencing (ex. not gaining new clients) but also the internal problems and how this might make them feel.


3. Position Your Company as the "Guide" of the Story


Companies need to position themselves as the guide to help the customer achieve their goals. This is done through empathy and authority. You need to empathize with the problem of your customer and then have authority by having experience in helping customers with these problems. Instead of just boasting years of experience within the industry, explain how the years of experience translates to how well you can solve the problems of your customer.

Companies love to tell their story, but often don't understand that they only really matter in the context of their customer's story. By allowing their customer or client to be the "hero" of the story, customers will identify with and act upon their problems by seeking advice from the guide. Northeast Visuals can help your company tell your story through video in a way that makes your client the "hero"! Feel free to reach out for a free consultation on how to better position yourself in your video stories.


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