Each year for the past decade, I’ve been chairing and presenting seminars for yachting-industry professionals. Lately, I’ve talked a good deal about improving brand awareness. I find companies are really good at describing what they do. But, they fall short at communicating why: why they do what they do. After reading a recent article penned by Sir Richard Branson of Virgin, I knew I’d found a kindred spirit.
Virgin is one of the most successful businesses across the globe. Interestingly, it’s not just focused on promoting its own offerings. In fact, every day—sometimes a few times a day—it posts articles for entrepreneurs, tech-trend followers, and more on its website. Related to this, each article adheres to a theme, with each month dedicated to a different theme. For all of March, and partly into April, Virgin featured a series on storytelling. The posts commanded attention with call-to-action headlines like, “Tell a Different Story to Get the Edge Over Competitors.”
My favorite, though, was one by Branson, titled, “Storytelling Is as Old as the Campfire.” Here’s an excerpt:
We’ve spent a fair few nights around the beautiful campfire on Necker Island swapping stories recently. Every time we’re sat down by the flames, I am reminded of a line I scribbled down in my notebook a few years ago: Storytelling is as old as the campfire, and as young as a tweet. Regardless of the medium – in person, on social media, through old fashioned letters, on the phone or via email – there is nothing more effective and affecting than storytelling.
Spot on. Storytelling captivates an audience. Simultaneously, it engages that audience. And, that audience is as much a thousand-person-strong client list as it is a three-person family. You, as the storyteller, invite your audience to become part of the tale you’re telling. They imagine in their mind’s eye the scenes you describe. They delight in the triumphs, and, if they’re the right target, identify and connect with you emotionally, and intellectually.
So, what’s your story? Are you ready to share it? You should be. You have powerful connections to make.