Managing Director, Chetak Auto-engineering Products Co. Pvt. Ltd.
Were you ever in a situation when you were little and wanted a toy that your father refused to get for you. Or you missed a homework assignment and reached out to your professor about it? What did you do? Were you successful in doing so? By this time, I am sure you are thinking about your past. In those moments you must have come up with some story to get that toy, or reason with the professor. These few lines in the article have connected with you without you realising it. This is the power of storytelling. We all are storytellers and have been making stories since our childhood to get what we want. Some worked great, but some failed. The dynamics of this process change as we get older, but the concept is still very much prevalent in all facets of our lives, including business.
Business is nothing but one party trying to convince the other to buy their product or service. A successful business is one that is effective in persuading. This persuasion, comes from creating need. If your product is completely new to the market, then convincing happens at the product level. That is, you create the need for the product. But if the product is already available, then convincing happens at the brand level. That is making your brand more desirable than that of the competitors. This process of creating demand happens through the story of the product, service, or brand. Presenting a story is the act of sharing an idea in such a way that consumers can imagine themselves using the product or service. This is done successfully through a proper ratio of emotions, context, and relevance. The first step to start any story is to relate with your audience. Without a strong emotional connection, no consumer would ever bother listening to your story. Similar to why you were always fascinated by your grandparents’ stories from when they were your age. The story can only be relatable when it is said in a way that makes it about the consumer and not the product. Proper context is when the story can relate the emotions with the product. Meaning, a story can have an elaborate act, however, if it fails to relate itself to the commodity, then those emotions incited in the consumers would be left undirected. Lastly, the message needs to be strongly relevant to the audience. The core of the story should revolve around the kind of consumers it’s trying to impact.
The platform of storytelling differs a little depending upon the type of business. For B2B, the main medium to share your story is through presentation slides and in person meetings. The use of biographical stories of the company is particularly relevant to B2B firms because their customers are often buying a long term relationship with the organization. Sharing organizational values, business principles, vision, and mission starts to build trust between the two parties. Companies which can back their claims with statistical data, and facts and figures, further strengthen that trust with authenticity. I incorporated this principle in my company, Capco Industries Ltd, several years ago after noticing a lack of connection with new potential B2B clients. Initially the presentations were very product centric. Full of images and information about the product and very little insight of the company itself. Once I changed my story to be more company centric, the results were instant and successful. However, the initial approach of being product centric works well in B2C businesses.
In B2C, the stories are mainly delivered through advertisements. These stories are often hypothetical scenarios that elevate the emotional state of the viewers or listeners and direct these emotions towards owning the product or availing the service. Through music and the characters, it heightens the emotions of the viewers. These emotions are directed towards the service the company is trying to sell by showing how the company’s representatives will go out of their way for customer satisfaction.
Choosing or modifying your story based on your audience is very important. Small factors such as changing your currency from Rupees to Dollars in your presentation to US customers would go a long way. Similarly, for B2C advertisements setting up the background and characters depending upon the culture of your target consumers would yield significantly stronger results. You can create multiple ads for the same product, but diverse target audience, depending upon factors such as the geography, climate, culture, and age.A business with a remarkable story can win over its audience and raise the perceived value and image of the brand. Your story is like the window to your store. You could have the best products inside, but if your windows are tinted, your customers would never know what’s inside. Only when they are clear, customers would be attracted to come see what’s in.