ONCE UPON A TIME … STORYTELLING IN B2B
STORYTELLING IS PRESENT IN OUR LIVES SINCE THE ORIGINS OF THE HUMAN BEING, IT HAS BEEN AND IS THE WAY THAT PEOPLE CHOOSE TO COMMUNICATE AND SHARE KNOWLEDGE. WITH STORIES WE ACTIVATE OUR IMAGINATION, WE SHARE OUR VALUES WITH OUR PUBLIC BUILDING LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIPS, BASED ON EMOTION AND TRUTH.
Once upon a time … magic words that as soon as we hear them prepare our senses to listen to a story that will transport us to another place: our body stops, we listen, and our imagination starts to work. When we hear them, we do not know very well where they are going to take us, but what we do know is that the story that we are going to hear is not going to leave us indifferent and that we are not going to forget it easily either. It is the power of stories, the ability to connect directly with the depths of our being and awaken our emotions. This is the power of storytelling or telling stories: an emotional click, which we cannot explain in words, and which connects us with our most primary emotion.
And it is that, long before human beings dominated writing, knowledge has been transmitted orally, generation after generation, in the form of stories. Already in the 11th and 12th centuries, the minstrels were orally spreading the chants of deed before the illiteracy of the society of the time. Between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the literary culture of orality shifted to literary manuscripts, the next step from manuscripts to printing. Taking a great leap in time, in the 20th century we entered the audiovisual narrative that has evolved in such a way that today, in the 21st century, we are all storytellers, we only need a smartphone and a little imagination .
What is Storytelling and its importance in B2B
According to professional speaker Akash Karia , storytelling is irresistible to humans because it activates our imagination. Therefore, we have no alternative but to follow the mental movies that we create in our head. So storytelling is nothing more than telling stories that arouse emotions in our audience, creating a connection between the one who tells it and the one who listens to it.
But beware! Our audience is very intelligent and selective, they will not “buy” any story we tell them. According to a study carried out by Neuromedia, we receive an advertising hit every 10 seconds, which is equivalent to 6,000 hits a day. However, we are able to retain a maximum of 18 messages per day, so for our audience to choose to retain our message, we have to tell stories that are truth-based, persuasive, entertaining, relevant and different, and of course, built on the values of our brand.
Therefore, storytelling is a fundamental piece in the B2B communication of companies. It is not about creating campaigns to seduce or to convince: the WOW effect lasts very little, it is often deceptive and you do not even retain who is behind that WOW. Let us remember that it is about generating a stable relationship between our client and us. It is about sharing stories that consolidate trust between companies that make us connect, and share the same brand valuesto establish true and lasting relationships over time.
Storytelling has to be integrated into our branding, marketing, and communication strategy. It must be inherent in the naming itself, in the logo, in advertising and graphic design elements.
Why Stories Are More Effective Than Metrics
If digital marketing has given us something, it is the ability to measure any impact, at any time and for any action we take. For companies, measuring their ROI immediately makes it easy for us to adapt and vary our strategies at the moment. Used properly, metrics convince and convert … but … do they connect?
Let’s say that metrics are facts, stories are aspirations; the metrics are cold, the stories are warm; metrics are practical, stories are illusion. We can make a parallel with the 2 hemispheres of the brain, let’s say that the metrics belong to the left hemisphere, which presents a more analytical, detailed and arithmetic functioning. And the stories are more the right hemisphere, the integrating hemisphere, specialized in feelings and artistic abilities. If we act by connecting the 2 hemispheres, as the corpus callosum does, connecting emotion and analysis, stories and metrics, we have magnificent potential for B2B with storytelling.
Stories make people remember you and create a positive image of your brand. According to research by Dr. Robert Cialdini, people prefer to say yes to other people with whom they share things in common. Thus, those who find similarities in the negotiations are almost twice as likely to finish the negotiation successfully, with a value result of 18% for both parties.
Numbers can hardly explain your purpose, a good well-articulated story expresses with more value what your core values are, making all your stakeholders accompany you on the journey of telling who you are, following a roadmap where you decide the path and they accompany you. A path in which you share emotions, fears, aspirations, successes …
In 5 Growth Principles in B2B Marketing, Binet and Fieldman state that for a long-term growth relationship, B2B marketing consists of 46% brand building and 54% short-term activation. In most campaigns, metrics can be used for short-term activation, which can help you reduce costs or improve productivity. But what will build a long-term relationship are sustained branding campaigns on emotions, which will also be a determining factor in a purchase decision, reducing price sensitivity and lengthening relationships long after the end of the sale. Bell.
How to do storytelling in B2B
Think about your audience and what they are looking for
According to eWorldTrade. Your audience is the most important. You are going to tell stories for them, so the first thing you have to think about is what your audience or audiences like, what they are looking for, what moves them, what are their interests and what is your relationship with them. If you have different audiences with different interests, you may have to make different personalized pieces for each one, or integrate different messages into the same story, in order to reach each of them. Only by knowing your audiences can you awaken positive emotions for them.
Look for the thrill
Make them feel. The purpose of storytelling is that the audience gets excited, laughs, cries, gets angry … that they feel emotions because in this way the brand will be remembered. The most emotional campaigns, and also the most controversial, are those that remain in the minds of the audience, you choose the tone you want to give your story, and why you want to be remembered. An example of controversial campaigns are those that United Colors of Benetton created together with the photographer Oliviero Toscani, such as the kisses between Obama and Chávez or Benedict XVI, and the interracial union with the aim of achieving inclusion regardless of physical characteristics.
Clearly define the perception of your brand
How do you want your audience to see you? What do you want to provoke in her? It is very important to establish the image you want to present of your brand: affordable, close, exclusive, only for a certain segment … the clearer you have the profile of your audience, the easier it will be to establish your brand image.
Create your story
Here comes the creative part, with everything defined above, we are going to shape your story. Like all narration, we look for a theme, we start from an approach, a middle and an end. Another narrative option is the hero’s journey. This narrative pattern analyzes the stages that occur in epic tales from Greek mythology: departure, initiation, and return. This model has been applied to many movies such as The Lord of the Rings or Star Wars.
It can also help you to ask yourself the following questions: What products or services do you want to sell? Do you want your story to be fun, nostalgic, and raise awareness? Where and at what time will it occur? Who or who will be the protagonists? What will its duration be?
Connect with your audience
Captivating your audience is probably the biggest challenge you are going to face. You must consider the objectives you want to achieve with your story, it may be that you want to cause a change in their way of life, that your goal is to educate your audience and cause changes in their day to day. The story of your brand has to reach the heart of your audience so that they become fans and prescribers of your product or service.
A previous research work can help you understand what moves your audience, what is relevant in their daily lives and look for the values of your brand that connect with their perceptions and feelings and build your story around this.
A brand that has managed to create a successful storytelling has been Casa Tarradellas or Campofío with their Christmas campaigns, this is the case of this year’s Christmas campaign that integrates all the elements of previous years adapting it to the unique circumstances that we are living this 2020.