Storytelling in a Digital World

Storytelling in a Digital World
By Paul Wingate
Beacon TechMarketing

Many technology organizations are trapped in tactic-land, but what translates marketing from “good” to “great” is understanding your purpose ... your raison d'etre ... and begin telling that story to the world.

Our ancient ancestors gathered around campfires sharing stories. These evening conversations played a major part in the strengthening of relationships. Thousands of years later, the tools that we use to convey these stories may have changed, but ultimately we now practice the art of digital storytelling as we gather around virtual campfires online.

Organizations are seldom as rational and logical as you would like them, to be. The truth is that emotion influences consumers. This means your marketing must create excitement, anticipation, and demonstrate how your brand can deliver both left brain and right brain benefits that translate to both professional and personal rewards.

To effectively sell to human beings, technology brands finally realize that the path to success involves seeking emotional connections with customers. Sometimes this means to put down the marketing tactics rule book from 1985 to alternatively offer value by telling your story.

According to Google Research, by getting personal, B2B marketers can get ahead — creating purchase intent, pricing power, brand advocacy and, most importantly, happy customers. It sounds so simple, but the pressure of positioning your brand as an authentic storyteller to build a positive reputation and increase credibility will fill most leaders with dread. However, fortune favors the brave, and the rewards begin the moment you ask yourself, how?

If mastered, creating meaningful relations from emotional connections with customers will automatically boost purchase outcomes such as purchase intent and pricing power. For example, B2B purchasers are almost 50% more likely to buy a product or service when they see a personal value such as an opportunity for career advancement or confidence and pride in their business purchase decision.

Many make the fatal mistake of forgetting that marketing is an uninvited guest in people’s lives and often invades their most private moments.As the marketing gurus from Southwest Airlines aptly put …

  1. We must intrigue them—captivate them with the way we look, the things we say.
  2. We must entertain them— encourage them to think, to smile, or at least feel empathy.
  3. We must persuade them— convince them that what we have to offer is genuinely unique and valuable. Otherwise, it is unlikely we will be invited back.

Your story is an asset to your business; this may feel uncomfortable at first, but it's your voice and leadership that people will respect more than facts and figures. Opening yourself up allows potential customers, board members and employees to relate to you in a meaningful way while also enabling you to emotionally connect with your audience?

We all understand that a story is a connected series of events with a beginning, middle and end. But it also takes the reader on a journey that moves the audience. When the audience goes on this journey, they feel different, sometimes even transformed.

Looking back at our history, the human race began communicating by telling stories through carvings on the walls of caves and around campfires. But, what makes someone a good communicator in the digital age?

There’s no mystery here, not since Aristotle identified the three critical elements of communications thousands of years ago. He famously coined the terms ethos, pathos, and logos as the three artistic proofs. These three modes of persuasion are often used to convince audiences through credibility, emotion, and logic. All three will pave the way to you becoming a better communicator. But, it's combining them that enables people to achieve the greatest communication success.

  • Ethos is essentially your credibility and the reason people will believe what you’re saying. Many choose to build ethos to position themselves as thought leaders by demonstrating technical expertise in a particular area. Ethos also helps you build an excellent reputation by showcasing your integrity, and character which organically promotes the trustworthiness of your company. "Doctors all over the world recommend this type of treatment."
  • Pathos is making an emotional connection with your readers will believe that what you’re saying is valuable to them. Humans are emotional beings and writers know it very well. They introduce pathos in their works to touch upon our delicate sensations such as pity, sympathy, sorrow and, consequently, try to develop an emotional connection with readers. An emotional bond with your customers is the key to obtaining their undivided attention to ensure a genuine active interest in your team's pitch. You should never underestimate the ability of Pathos to be the biggest influence on your followers’ perception of you as a communicator.
  • Logos are crucial in appealing to others’ sense of reason through the medium of logic. "More than one hundred peer-reviewed studies have been conducted over the past decade…” Logos is the language the leaders feel most comfortable, but it's understanding how the causes affect people in specific ways that offer an opportunity to influence and motivate them more effectively.

Effective tactics are important and necessary, but the secret to your story is far more than facts and figures. When your messages are delivered as meaningful stories that connect with customers, board members, and employees on an emotional level, marketing has the power to not only drive new business today but also to build your brand long term and get your new technology solution heard in our cluttered marketplace.