I just got off the phone with one of my clients in Europe when I realized something strange.
For over 35 minutes he continuously talked about data, numbers, statistics and paid advertising to drive his brand. He lectured me on analytics and metrics of the current market and again, used research as the central instrument as to why his latest product will be a hit. He sure did his homework. My client was so prepared and knew all the ins and outs of current trends, risks, and future opportunities, but I kept thinking to myself that he has missed the most important point.
Not wanting to interrupt his euphoric chatter, I couldn’t help myself to cut him off.
Perplexed by my rude interference and after 35 long minutes, speechless for a second, I quickly asked him one simple question that caught him completely off guard. Silence, followed by a few mhhm’s, and ahhm’s, followed by some more silence, I asked him the same simple question again.
“What is the story?”
“I don’t have a story,” he mumbled, before trying to divert the issue back to research. Again, I interrupted him and said that without a story all the numbers and analytics are completely useless.
Success comes with great storytelling.
The best writers and public speakers are good storytellers. The best leaders and coaches are great storytellers. Some people even argue that the best parents are great storytellers and this is no different for the most successful brands of our time – They all tell a great story!
Of course, storytelling isn’t the only way to engage people with your ideas, but stories powerfully connect us to our listeners.
It’s a patterned cognitive play of words that connects with people on an emotional level. It’s raw, current, emotional and most importantly authentic which is key to connect (and stick) with your consumers. Long lasting relationships with your clients aren’t based on numbers or analytics. Great marketers recognized very early on that human connection needs to go before concepts and strategies.
You can prepare all you want. Know all the ins and outs or current trends, study your competition and allies all you want, but without a story or a purpose, your brand will most likely fail, no matter how great it is. I suggest you take a step back. Walk away from the mountain of research you’ve compiled over the last six months and really asked yourself about the PURPOSE of your product.
While research and preparation is a crucial part of success, always keep in mind; Connect first with your audience – Then get down to business.
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