The Value of A Story

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I’m a fan of data. In a previous life, I mixed and remixed spreadsheets to figure out the best price point, the most advantageous date for product release and our best strategy for increased ROI. Numbers drive business. When profit goes up or the stock price goes down, we record it, gloat about it, complain about it or even fear it. Data can be a problem. We can be afraid of the story we think it tells.

Your story has a unique ability – a superpower, if you will – to impose understanding on your data. It fills in the white space and provides a memorable, emotional impact on your listeners, even when the news is bad. Consider this ad, one of my favourite Super Bowl spots ever:

The “Imported From Detroit” campaign rolled out from Chrysler in some of Motown’s direst years. The unparalleled emotional impact of the ad, which skilfully blends image and music as the story unfolds, reframed the narrative around both the automaker and its home city. The voiceover is confident and assertively takes back control of the Chrysler narrative. It’s a wonderful example about how story can solve marketing problems.

Your product, your annual report, or your Twitter feed need a story. Story makes people care and adds real financial value to your business. Stories give the objects of our lives significance. When a customer is moving through the sales funnel, they use your story to inform their final decision. A mom can pay more money for organic groceries, because they believe in the story that accompanies them. An executive becomes a dedicated consumer of all iThings, since they believe in Apple’s story. Your backstory can leverage your personal brand and increase the freelancing fees you can charge. And, when all goes wrong, your story can put you back in the driver’s seat.

Story empowers people to believe in you. It makes the disparate pieces of data that surround your company make sense. When it comes to communicating data to shareholders, employees or to the wider world, consider a story solution. You can have a dazzling return on your investment.