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What Is Business Storytelling?

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Last editedNov 20222 min read

Narratives are one of the most fundamental ways that humans make sense of the world. They help us to attribute meaning to events that happen throughout the course of our lives. If data gives us “the what,” then narrative, or perhaps more simply, stories, give us “the why”. And if that’s the case, it makes sense that stories would also be an important concept for businesses. After all, every move your business makes has a narrative behind it, and storytelling can help bring that narrative to light.

In this post, we’ll explore the concept of business storytelling. What is storytelling in business? And why is storytelling important in business? Let’s find out.

Business storytelling explained

Let’s get started with a simple question: what is storytelling in business? Essentially, business storytelling refers to the practice of using story structure, or narrative, to connect with your audience on an emotional level. Rather than communicating with facts and figures or sales-speak, it’s about telling a story, enabling your business to stand out from the competition and connect with potential customers on a deeper level, turning one-time buyers into long-term prospects and cutting down on customer churn.

Why is storytelling important in business?

Storytelling can be an extremely useful marketing tool for your business. Put simply, customers are more likely to become loyal to a business that they can connect with emotionally, and stories are an extremely effective way to achieve that level of emotional connection. With many different brands targeting the same audience, a relatable, memorable story can help you grab the attention of customers who may be more amenable to sticking with you over a long-term period.

In addition, business storytelling can help your brand gain a competitive advantage in a packed market. How? Simple. Storytelling enables your business to position (or re-position) itself in relation to its competitors, helping you to stand out from the crowd and offer a more convincing proposition to customers. If you’re offering a service or product that is more-or-less the same as a competitor, effective business storytelling could be the difference-maker that convinces a customer to choose your brand, rather than theirs.

How can businesses use business storytelling effectively?

So, the importance of storytelling in business is clear, but how can your business actually go about creating a resonant narrative? Well, there are a number of different aspects to consider.

Firstly, think about the basics of storytelling. What do you need? A character, or a hero (this could be a person or even a product). A conflict (what are you trying to solve and what’s stopping you from doing that?). Circumstance (what’s the context for your story, if you’ve changed the game, what was the situation before your business came along?). Thinking about these basic storytelling elements should give you some idea what’s required when you start creating your brand’s narrative.

Next up, it’s time to share the story behind your brand. Everyone comes from somewhere, so ask yourself a simple, but fundamental question: where do we come from? Maybe you started the business for a unique reason, perhaps – like many famous brands, such as Apple and Google – your business started life from especially humble beginnings. Wherever your brand’s story starts, sharing it will humanise your brand and explain, on the most basic level, why you actually exist. The ‘About’ page on your website is the place to start. Once you’ve nailed the narrative, you can branch out into other storytelling ventures, such as interviews with the business’s founders.

You should also think about creating supplemental marketing materials that help with business storytelling, such as case studies, podcasts, or video content. There are many different ways that you can strengthen and communicate your brand’s story with potential customers, as well as employees, who are more likely to buy into your narrative if they’re exposed to it more often.

We hope we’ve given you plenty to think about when it comes to using storytelling in a business or corporate context. Just remember that business storytelling is all about building an emotional connection – provide customers with real-life, human stories, and they’ll be sure to respond well.

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