Understanding is a two-way street. To run a great business, you need to understand your customers. That’s why we focus so much attention on collecting data and creating customer journey maps. It’s also really good when your customers understand your business. Storytelling is one of the tools we can use to create that understanding.
Begin with asking yourself what you’d like your customers to really understand about your business. During a recent Fireside Chat I moderated at JCK Las Vegas, a jeweler shared how they share stories effectively with their customers. This particular jeweler travels the world to source the gemstones she uses in her jewelry. As part of each trip, she thinks through what her customers would appreciate knowing about the process, and documents that with photos and video.
Back in her store, the video coverage is displayed on two screens. When a customer comes in just browsing, or to have a watch battery changed, they’re exposed to this interesting, visually compelling content that tells the story of how the gemstones in the cases got there. Many of her customers subsequently sign up to attend a special gemstone-focused event. Deepening the customers’ understanding of the business resulted in greater levels of engagement, and eventually, sales.
When a story is strong enough, your customers will tell it for you. That same jeweler shared the fact that a customer who’d watched the story and had a piece of custom jewelry made was later stopped by an admiring passer-by who wanted to know where she’d gotten it. That customer who’d responded so well to the story then became the storyteller, sharing her own personal experiences of interacting with the jeweler, as well as the story of how gemstones are sourced from around the world.
What would you like customers to understand about your business? Storytelling can take many forms, so focus first on understanding what you’d like your customer to know. You may have one story to tell, or you may have dozens. Capture your ideas and create a plan to tell them all.