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Why Tech Brands Should Worry About Storytellingby@theolamonday
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Why Tech Brands Should Worry About Storytelling

by Theola MondayJuly 25th, 2022
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A professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business had his students make a one-minute pitch to their classmates supporting or opposing the proposition that non-violent crime is a serious problem. The results were eye-opening. 63% of the students remembered the stories told while only 5% remembered a statistic. An engaging story won’t only grab the attention of the reader but it’ll also move them to action. This is the kind of effect you want your stories to have on your customers.

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In retrospect, the narrative and overly expressive nature of storytelling may not blend with the scientific and mostly straightforward nature of technology. Many may even wonder why they are in the same sentence. However, research has proven that consumers crave genuine connections with the brands they patronize and these connections are often fostered  through storytelling. Consumers no longer care for dry data and numbers that make sense to no one but the company’s sales team. 

To emphasize the power of stories, Chip Heath, a professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, had his students make a one-minute pitch to their classmates supporting or opposing the proposition that non-violent crime is a serious problem. While most students used statistics in their pitch, only one in ten incorporated storytelling. After a ten-minute break, he asked the students to write down every argument they heard in those pitches.

The results were eye-opening.

63% of the students remembered the stories told while only 5% remembered a statistic.

Is that enough to convince you that the best way to remain unforgettable as a brand is to tell your story?

In case you need more convincing, here are four reasons why your tech brand should worry about storytelling:

1. Stories Simplify

A lot of work goes into creating tech products and services:  research, collecting data, engineering, research again, IT tests, prototyping, software development, design, testing again, and whatnot. All these before the product is finally released into the market. Despite all the hard work this usually takes, your customer doesn’t care. Your customer doesn’t care that your technology is fitted with an Intel Core i9-12900K processor or that you store their data in some of the world’s sophisticated data centers in Europe and North America. In this case, all they want to know is that their privacy is your greatest priority and they can use your platform without worrying about having their information sold to the highest bidder. 

Tech is complex, that much we can agree on. But its primary purpose is ease; to simplify complex processes and solve some problems.

The best way to communicate that to your customers is through storytelling — not by making a list of what your technology is made of (no matter how impressive it is). There is no better way to express your most complicated ideas in its most digestible form.

2. Emotions Sell Faster Than Logic

Have you ever heard or read this statement somewhere before: “people will forget what you said; people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” It’s one of Maya Angelou’s greatest quotes. Well, the same applies in marketing.

Many researchers and neuroscientists agree that logic is the least impactful factor when humans make purchasing decisions. Bolstering that assertion is Gerald Zaltman, a professor at Harvard Business School, who noted in his book — “How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market” — that 95% of human purchases are done subconsciously. This means that your brand’s success is largely dependent on how much of an emotional connection exists between the brand and the customer. 

But then, how do you evoke emotions? 

Studies have shown that emotions can be consciously and unconsciously evoked by specific events. Our experiences of these events send messages to our brains which in turn interpret the message and trigger basic human emotions like anger, fear, happiness, disgust, sadness, and more. Language is also one of those experiences that could evoke emotions and what’s a better way to use language than telling stories?

An engaging story won’t only grab the attention of the reader but it’ll also move them to action. This is the kind of effect you want your stories to have on your customers.

"At its very core, marketing is storytelling. The best advertising campaigns take us on an emotional journey — appealing to our wants, needs, and desires — while at the same time telling us about a product or service." - Melinda Partin, Customer Experience Design and Marketing Consultant

3. Great Marketing Goes Beyond Selling The Product

While it’s natural for marketing teams to want to talk about their new, amazing products to anyone who cares to listen, that’s not marketing that converts. It’s not the kind of marketing that makes your brand unforgettable or distinguishes you in a fiercely competitive environment. 

Great marketing seeks to build trust, a community, and credibility, all while remaining memorable. 

By telling beautifully crafted stories, you allow your customers to discover more than just what you sell. It’s just like dating — if all you do is talk about what you do, at what point does your date meet the real you? There’s no hope for an emotional connection in that case.

When you communicate your brand’s values and mission through stories, your brand becomes more relatable and accessible. Members of your audience that resonate with those values and the inspiration behind your offerings will undoubtedly pitch a tent with your brand.

This is one surefire way to build brand loyalty.

You might worry that this would put off people who do not share the same values but a great marketing strategy is to build something 100 people will love and not something 1 million people may like.

4. People Want to Know How Your Brand is Impacting the World

Little to no research will have you discovering that no matter how innovative or ‘ground-breaking’ your offering is, there are several others offering the same things in the global marketplace. Companies are spending a considerable percentage of their revenue just to get their brands in the faces of the right people and experience has proven that the best way to make this happen is to stand out.

One way to stand out is to highlight how your product or service is impacting the world and making lives easier. 

This is a marketing strategy called social proof and according to Gartner, it remains a powerful tool for encouraging both online and offline sales. One way to communicate this social proof is through the art of storytelling — particularly through well-crafted success stories, testimonials, and even case studies.

People will undoubtedly relate better with the experiences of others that are just like them.

Final Thoughts

If there’s one thing you must take away from this article, it’s that your audience needs to see a story about a relatable pain point and how your brand solves it. If widening your visibility, remaining unforgettable, increasing revenue and making impact are included in your brand objectives, then brand storytelling is the way to go. 

You absolutely cannot go wrong with it.

This article was co-authored by Kolawole Samuel Adebayo