Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Art & Science of Business Story Telling

Two projects for Rogier Communications clients, Leader Dogs for the Blind Media Relations and IntegriTime Hospitality Case study, received Awards of Honor and Merit.  

Two Market Strategies &PR team awards received recognition -- a business-to-business web redesign and a b-to-b marketing communications program.

A Story of Welcome
One of the joys of the evening was hearing the opening remarks from my former employer, Gerry Turgeon, founder and principal of a fantastic agency known as Turgeon Group Marketing Communications.

It struck me during Gerry’s welcome remarks the power of good story telling. 

Instead of reading from a PowerPoint slide or script, Gerry relayed from memory a moving story about the power of connections and community, whether in a personal or  work setting.  

Gerry recalled a story about a time-tested experiment from middle school science, where folks relay static electricity when joining hands.  His engaging story was an analogy reminding us that working together, connecting for a common cause, is more effective than when working alone. It was an artful and meaningful presentation from the heart.

Gerry’s remarks are memorable several weeks later because of the story.  If Gerry just read bullet points from a series of projected slides, this level of recall would not be possible.

Association of Story Tellers
All who were gathered at the IABC Detroit event are in fact story tellers, weaving their tales in the business-to-business realm.  The stories tell of the value organizations provide, whether in multi-media, website content, printed annual reports, online communications, direct marketing, advertising or other mediums.

The professional communicators gathered that evening realize, whether they work for non-profits, health care institutions, Universities, professional service firms, manufacturing companies, hi tech or other sectors, purposeful and strategic use of narrative achieves a practical outcome with an individual, a community, or an organization.

 Stories help communicate complex information. A good story helps the receiver connect, learn, participate and remember.

That’s why in software marketing, testimonials, or articles written by the customer’s point of view, carry more impact then if the vendor provides a laundry list of features and functions.

Tweet Me a Story

In b-to-b social media, it’s more effective to Tweet a story or link to a larger story, then simply push out promotional content. 

As an example, which is the more memorable and interesting Tweet?  If you were another manufacturing supplier, which 140 character Tweet entices you to click for further information?

“Finally, no more cabinets full of paper!” Supplier avoids hassle of printing 20,000 quality documents each month.

Software automates documentation processes to avoid costs of printing.  
Learn more here.

The first Tweet lets prospects relate to the pains and troubles another manufacturer had with the hassles of quality control documentation.   

So What’s the Story?

It appears there is a resurgence of interest among today's business and organizations in the art of storytelling.

This is a powerful concept at a time of boundless electronic communications – online videos, social media postings, mobile messages, location-based applications, etc.

As my MSU English professor used to remind me so long ago in a writing class, show, don’t tell.

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