5 Tips For How Every Business Can Grow With Storytelling

November 4, 2020

Your business is more than just your product - every business also has a story to tell. So what’s your story? Here are 5 tips to help you define your business story and lead your business to new growth.

Tesla, suddenly a giant in the auto industry, is a prime example of business growth. Its shares are currently trading at $900 per share on the stock market. Since February 2020, Tesla’s stock is worth more than the stocks of VW and BMW combined.  Surprising for a company who was recently in the headlines for not having a handle on its production, yet revealed an operating profit of $350m, as opposed to VW with €13.9bn (figures from 2018).

The Secret is the Business Story

Tesla is a case in point demonstrating that the market value of a company can vastly exceed its sheer profits. Here the mind-boggling value of Tesla as a brand can be attributed to the bold, yet slightly zany visionary narrative that Elon Musk bestows upon his company, embodying the spirit of our times. We’re convinced that a good story is worth its weight in gold and is essential for a company’s growth. Or, to quote Ben Horowitz, the co-founder and partner of VC Fonds Andreessen Horowitz: “A company without a story is a company without a strategy”. Below are 5 key takeaways as to why every company looking to grow should put their own success story on top of the next meeting’s agenda, plus how to deliver your story in a compelling manner.  

1. If you want your Business to grow, make Storytelling part of your core Business Strategy

It’s no longer a secret in the business world that storytelling is an integral part of good marketing. However, storytelling’s potential is still widely underestimated for its impact on scaling a business. Overall, how your brand is perceived plays a crucial role in everything from recruiting new employees to prospective partnerships with other brands to communicating with your investors.  

2. The 3 “S”s of Storytelling: Speed, Style, Sizzle.

Haven’t heard of them yet? Then make sure to jot down these three words which explain the most important factors for great storytelling. Firstly, a story must have the ability to conjure emotions (story), and optimally produce this reaction quickly (speed). Essential for your story are main characters (regardless whether they are heroes or villains) which are able to engage the target group (sizzle).  

3. Using Storytelling to grow your Business and achieve your Goals

Whatever business you are in - be it event coordination, new product development, even storytelling itself: when an element in the story doesn’t serve your primary business goals, then it should be omitted. This requires careful consideration of what your business is looking to achieve before you begin telling your story. Is it a priority to build up a community? Develop added-value marketing strategies? Deliver professional expertise? Or perhaps put the outside world in touch with your own business values? Last but not least, you’ll need to consider the target group you intend to reach. You will have already won half the battle if you prepare yourself well, so do allow yourself proper time for preparation. No one can simply churn out an authentically engaging business story overnight. Goals need to be clearly defined beforehand, since these will contribute to the content and tone of your story. 

4. “The Medium is the Message” 

Although the philosopher and communication theorist Marshall McLuhan coined this well-known phrase back in 1964, the importance of what he was implying is even more relevant now in light of today’s diversified media channels. A good story alone will not spare you from the task of developing a proper content marketing strategy. Your story’s context has to be conveyable through each media channel it will be delivered in. You’ll need to consider which format to choose for your images and videos, whether or not to provide subtitles, and how you can utilize each format to your best advantage. However, perhaps the most important question you’ll need to ask yourself is: What is the best format for reaching my target group?

5. No Filters: communicate authentically

So let’s take a moment to think about our own favorite stories, whether they’re based on fiction or real events. It’s highly likely that most of these stories have one thing in common: we associate them with certain characters, main figures, heroes or villains. Empathy plays a key role in all good stories, so why should business stories be an exception? People are genuinely interested in the lives of others and especially gravitate towards the inspiring stories of successful people. It’s important to note that if you decide to, let’s say, make CEO storytelling a core part of your strategy, then it must be authentic. Everyone believes Disney’s Rogers Iger when he says that he adopted Disney’s vision as his own personal goal: to “make people happy”. The success of Bumble, the female-led dating app with currently over 55 million users, would also be equally hard to imagine without the presence of their CEO, the bold entrepreneur Whitney Wolfe.