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Why Every Organisation Should Use Storytelling in Business

Humans have been telling stories for thousands of years. Tribal elders have used stories to pass down history and promote tradition. We tell our children stories so they learn life lessons. Businesses need to be telling stories to build profitable brands - here’s why...

You may have seen or heard a lot lately about storytelling for business.

And there’s good reason for that.

Organisations are slowly cottoning on to the fact that stories, when told well, are a very powerful means of effective marketing and communications.

If you think about it, whoever tells the best story in business usually wins.

That’s true, whether you are a Fortune 500 or Footsie 100 company, an SME seeking growth to the next level or a charity raising funds.

Research study after scientific research study confirms our intuitive sense that stories are powerful.

It All Starts When We are Young

Stories are all around us from birth into childhood - sourced through songs, bedtime stories, nursery rhymes, cartoons, fables, fairy tales, children’s TV programmes and video games.

Then - as we get older - there are books, movies, Netflix dramas and other streamed shows. Conversations down the pub, at the bar, in cafes, outside the school gates, and by the water cooler at work.

So, there’s some nurturing of receiving and sharing stories going on every day of our lives.

But Neuroscience is Also at Play

Neuroscientists will tell you this. Our brains are ‘hardwired’ for stories.

A quick internet search will vouch for it.

If you prefer to research further, books like Made to Stick, by Chip and Dan Heath, or The Science of Storytelling by Will Storr, include sound reference to the topic.

Or look at it this way.

Is there a song to which you can remember all the words?

The likelihood is that song is one you love to hear, can be associated to a particular time or moment in your life, and has lyrics which tell a strong story.

On a good day, that song for me would be Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. It’s storytelling through song.

Stories Get Under the Skin

Stories tap into our emotions, connect us, humanise us, add another level, and appeal to our visual imagination.

Stories will outgun facts or stats every day of the week.

The best stories will always be (to use another Queen reference) “The Champions” (of the world) - whether you play the game or not.

Sir Richard Branson, in his book Business Stripped Bare, tells the reader to “Engage your emotions at work. Your instincts and emotions are there to help you. They are there to make things easier.”

Storytelling for Business

Storytelling can be used internally or externally by companies and their leaders.

Sell your vision, get employees on board with a new strategy, attract new clients, win a huge contract, build your credibility as a thought leader. Never deliver a dull presentation or talk ever again.

Storytelling can also be used by entrepreneurs and organisations to develop and grow their business and audience.

The logic is clear.

To gain business - and earn revenue or income - you need buyers. Buyers need to know you exist, know what you offer and understand why your ‘solution’ is best for them.

People tend to buy at an emotional level - and justify with logic. Stories are therefore a natural choice for how you present your message to your audience.

It’s just one of the reasons why - according to The State of Marketing report 2023 by HubSpot - video is the number one tool for effective marketing and delivering the highest ROI.

Everyone Loves a Great Story

Just think of your favourite book, film, soap or drama series.

It works in life. It works in business, too. Using stories and storytelling can help you:

  • Grab people’s attention

  • Get your unique message out there, with confidence and clarity

  • Understand your audience and connect more strongly with your tribe

  • Build more powerful relationships with clients, prospects and customers

  • Present products and services without ‘cheesy’ hype or jargon-loaded lingo

  • Be authentic and naturally persuasive

  • Influence and inspire others

  • Avoid sounding dull, boring or ‘just like everyone else in your industry’

  • Hook your audience

  • Develop a consistent (brand) voice in alignment with who you are

  • Attract more of the right people to you - and improve your sales

  • Fend off the competition

  • Have a greater impact on the world

As with any other skill or art, storytelling for business can be taught and learnt. Some people have a natural flair for it. Others can learn to do it well enough that it works for them.

Or you bring in storytelling specialists to help you craft and produce stories that work for your organisation.

Double the Power with Video Storytelling

So, there is power in using stories for business. And you now know about the class-leading effectiveness of video in marketing and communications

It makes perfect sense to combine the two.

It’s what Prisma Broadcast has been doing for its clients, week in and week out. And they are seeing the benefits of that through tangible, measurable results.

As Annette Simmons, Founder of Group Process Consulting, says: “Storytelling can be used to persuade, motivate, and inspire in ways that cold facts, bullet points and directives can’t”

Storytelling with video can be used to increase brand awareness, create social media campaigns, generate more leads (and more qualified leads), produce product explainers and improve sales conversions.

Storytelling with video can be used for HR training, onboarding and customer service.

Storytelling with video can help you save time and money - and make money.

It’s why more and more organisations are turning to this approach in their marketing and communications.


Gary Spinks

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