Does your business pass the pub test?
If you were given five minutes to talk about your business to strangers enjoying a pint in their local, would they hang around to hear what you had to say? Probably not. And that’s because most people will chronicle their business in dates and facts and forget to tell a story.
The art of storytelling is as old as time and it’s not without good reason that it is still one of the most powerful weapons in your marketing armoury. There are few people in our nation who cannot recall the story of Goldilocks and The Three Bears, yet only a handful who’d know it was first published in 1837 by the British writer Robert Southey.
That’s because facts have a habit of slipping from the memory whilst stories can be lodged there forever.
There is a story doing the rounds in the US about a trial lawyer seeking damages for a client disabled in an accident. This was his summation: “As you know, about an hour ago we broke for lunch. I saw the bailiff come and take you all as a group to have lunch in the jury room. Then I saw the defense attorney, Mr. Horowitz. He and his client decided to go to lunch together. The judge and court clerk went to lunch. So, I turned to my client, Harold, and said “Why don’t you and I go to lunch together?” We went across the street to that little restaurant and had lunch. (Significant pause.) Ladies and gentlemen, I just had lunch with my client. He has no arms. He has to eat like a dog. Thank you very much.” He won substantial damages.
So how can you turn the dry facts about your business in a compelling story? Start with casting yourself as a hero and your customers as the damsels in distress. Ask yourself how you have saved them.
For example, you may think you clean windows, but it could be that you help people see the world.
From this starting point it is not hard to build a narrative about your business. How you were walking through Exeter and noticed how many people could not see properly out their windows. It struck you that they were missing out on a view and it inspired you to start a window cleaning business.
At Five Zero, an Exeter PR agency, we use story telling techniques to help promote our clients in the media. Just like you and me, journalists love a good story and will happily write about yours if it’s sufficiently interesting and relevant.
If you feel there is a story in your business waiting to get out, get in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org