It’s impossible to overstate how important storytelling is when you want to attract, convert, and retain Millennial customers. Social media has been quick to grasp many people who enjoy creating and telling stories for their own amusement. Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook have all added some form of “Stories” to their platform.
On social media, Stories are generally short, image-rich narratives that relay an experience the teller found to be personally meaningful or emotionally compelling. Sometimes that emotion is universal and easy to access – there are plenty of Stories that center around having a great time with friends or enjoying a beautiful location – and sometimes the Stories are more intimate and personal. People are becoming incredibly skilled at weaving their own complex personal narratives online – and they expect the brands they interact with to do the same.
Customer expectations are one reason why storytelling is important for brands. The other reason has to do with your brand’s reach online. I’m sure you’re all aware of ad blockers. Not only is the usage of ad blockers steadily going up – you may have noticed websites asking you to disable your ad blocker in order to view their content – but Google is giving Chrome users greater ability to mute ads across all devices. Facebook and other social media platforms are increasingly giving users the ability to control what ads they’re exposed to. The reach you’re going to realize from advertising will go down as a result. People are trying to avoid ads. They seek out stories.
In Simon Sinek’s book, Find Your Why, he shares a valuable storytelling secret. The best brands focus their story not on what they do, or how they do it, but on why they do it. Take this idea as a starting point for your storytelling. You could tell a big picture – why you’re in business, your purpose – or a smaller story, like why you’re located where you are, or why your company’s uniforms look the way they do. Pick one of your whys and tell your customers a story about it. It’s a meaningful way to build a genuine rapport with your current and future customers.