Biz Tips: Good storytelling is a matter of trust

Biz Tips: Good storytelling is a matter of trust

GROWTH:

Good storytelling is a matter of trust

Everyone likes to hear a good story. It’s up to marketers to tell one — that is, a good, believable, entertaining story.

Businesses of all sizes have stories to tell, and Miri Rodriguez hails from one of the biggest companies. She is a designated storyteller at Microsoft Corporation.

Rodriguez talked with marketing entrepreneur Madalyn Sklar about the how’s and why’s of integrating storytelling into social strategy.

“Storytelling drives your brand identity and consumption,” Rodriquez said. “It showcases your mission — why you exist and why your customer should care. It needs to be part of your business strategy.

“No one should be able to hijack your story brand,” she said. “It is unique.”

Stories must be personal, true and told from the heart. They are the ultimate verification of authenticity.

Rodriguez abides by three storytelling techniques:

  • As good friend Park Howell always says, a story should have a character, plot and conclusion.
  • A story should speak to a universal truth — sadness, achievement, survival.
  • Stories should be told with conviction. If you don’t believe your story, no one will.

“A story is a human talking to another human, doing business,” Rodriguez said.

For compelling stories, you need look no farther than the people who work for your company and their families. They are potentially your most rabid fans.

“At Microsoft, our story is our mission: To empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more,” Rodriguez said. “All stories tie back to that.”

Her favorite posts from Microsoft story labs are found on the company’s showcase page.

“Your brand stories should be everywhere,” Rodriguez said. “Dedicate digital space to them, and drive audiences there.”

Your company should have a vision, mission and key messages. Storytelling themes should support those messages overtly or — much better — subtly.

“Themes should be based on core initiatives — what the business is focused on,” Rodriguez said. “Of course, there are many lines of businesses, services and products.

“Themes will — and should — vary accordingly,” she said. “Yet, always tie back to the main narrative — the mission.”

In selecting storytellers, consider each person’s overall image. Too slick is not good, but they should know their particular story and speak to it well as it relates to your business.

“Brands need to understand that we are all storytellers,” Rodriguez said. “That’s how we communicate at the core — when we remove corporate jargon and limitations.

“Brands don’t need to identify storytellers,” she said. “They need to empower their people to tell stories — and they will.”

Large companies such as Microsoft make a point to keep the tone and purpose of their storytelling consistently on brand.

“Our chief storyteller, Steve Clayton, does an incredible job of keeping a brand central hub for all things story — strategy, identity, core elements, resources,” Rodriguez said. “It’s our lifeline. All brands should have something like this.”

Such large companies have special ways to measure the success of their storytelling.

“Stories drive consumption of content,” Rodriguez said. “That’s a more impactful return on investment than engagement.

“If people tune into our stories, fundamentally it helps position and establish the brand successfully,” she said. “Our ROI is consumption — and ultimately brand trust and loyalty.”

About The Author

Jim Katzaman is a manager at Largo Financial Services and worked in public affairs for the Air Force and federal government. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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Good storytelling is a matter of trust was originally published in Marketing And Growth Hacking on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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