Why Startups Need to Be Extraordinary Storytellers
“Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories.”
– Roger C. Schank
Stories are crucial for our ability to understand almost anything. We learn best when we are introduced to a new idea or concept through stories, because we are more likely to develop an emotional connection to the story and its ‘heroes’. We are also far more likely to repeat new information if it is presented to us in the form of storytelling. The concept of heroes and characters helps the reader find their own place in the story, empathise with one of the characters, and feel inspired to share the story with others.
However, many startups confuse storytelling with content itself. Anyone can create content, but that doesn’t mean that the content will resonate with the reader. Without the ability of storytelling, content is dry, uninspiring, generalized, and a waste of time for the reader. Without storytelling, the reader doesn’t develop an emotional connection with your brand nor is inspired to become part of your startup’s community. If this is not enough of a reason to include storytelling in your marketing efforts, keep reading.
A Good Story Builds Your Brand
A story behind your brand will make the user form a connection with your brand and the team behind it. People love to know the reasons why your company was founded, how your business idea was born, which obstacles you faced along the way and how you overcame them, which lessons you learned, and what are the values that your team shares. Most importantly, they want to know how you are helping them solve the problems they have and how you are making their lives better. When you think about all these points, and write about this openly and informally, you will create your unique brand story. Sharing your honest story will help your ideal customers develop an emotional connection with your brand and lower the guard they usually hold against companies that try to sell in an obvious way.
Stories Ensure that You Communicate Effectively with Your Audience
Startups can use storytelling for effective communication with their audience. Each startup is unique in its own journey and the solutions it provides. Be proud of what you have achieved so far and showcase your success with people from all over the world.
With storytelling, you can communicate with your audience on an honest, creative level, which will help them to better understand your vision and your unique purpose. When you use stories to convey your message to your audience, you evoke emotions, connect with people on a more personal level, and inspire them to take action. The deeper you go into your storytelling, the more trust and credibility you will build with your audience.
Your Startup’s Story Becomes Easy for Your Audience to Share
Your storytelling abilities help your audience retell your story to other people, thereby expanding your brand’s visibility. This creates a ripple effect where more and more people hear about your brand and the solution you provide. If you create a good story, it will be very memorable for the reader and easy to share with others. It’s important to stand out from the crowd and to present your passion and your guiding idea in a unique way – because your startup is unique after all.
Great Storytelling Inspires Action
One of your biggest goals as a startup is to inspire people to take action. This is true for your audience, potential investors, and even members of your own team who need to stay inspired and connected to your greater purpose all the way to the end.
An inspiring, passionate story about why you started and where you want to go will articulate your vision better than any pitch deck ever could.
Your company is a hero of its own, so make sure that everyone understands the values that you intend to bring forward with your brand. If you’re about to change the world, you need to gather a supporting community around your vision. And there is no better way to inspire people to join you, whether they are your employees, fellow startupers or investors, but with a passionate story.
Inspiring Story Attracts the Right Investors
Potential investors need to see confidence in your startup and what you aim to achieve with it. An experienced investor will not offer funding unless they are as inspired with your vision as you are. They need to be convinced that you know what you’re doing, that you can portray your message clearly, and that you have the right skills and the right team to do so.
A great story will help them understand your vision better and how you intend to make the changes with your solution. Keep it honest, creative, and to the point, and make sure to add points that would inspire others to take an interest in your startup.
Your Story Inspires You to Keep Growing
Your own story will inspire you to grow. It reminds you of all the reasons that made you start, all the obstacles you have overcome so far, and the initial vision you had in the beginning. Often times, we lose the bigger picture of why we started and how we wanted to help others along the way, by getting lost in the daily struggle to keep our startup going.
Launching a startup is about more than just building a product or delivering a service. It’s also about how you tell your company’s story, because throughout your startup’s life, you’re going to explain what it is you do and what problem you solve.
Storytelling is the key to building a strong startup brand. Make stories part of your culture – and more than that, the integrity of your culture. Stories are often the best way to relate how a company is doing, what people are doing well, and what they could be doing better. And when leaders do this with transparency, honesty and humility, they make their employees feel good about their work even during rough times.
As content marketing increasingly becomes the norm, tactical storytelling is sure to be broken down to a science. What makes good stories work is the same unpredictable, creative, unintuitive quality that makes humans human. The breakout success won’t follow from the rote application of step-by-step guides or how-tos.
One thing that separates great startup pitches from merely good ones isn’t always a better business model or a more compelling product. It’s the stories they tell.