Before you begin applying the power of stories to your life and your brand, you'll need to know what makes a story powerful - like anything else, they aren't all created equal.
Here are the 6 elements of powerful stories you need to know before you start implementing better storytelling in your life and business:
1. A good story defines the "why" early on
You may not consciously think about it as you're watching a brand new movie or listening to your uncle talk about his latest trip to Punta Cana at the Christmas dinner table, but there's a scientific reason why you lost interest when the storyteller rambles on and takes forever to get to the "point."
People want to know WHY they should continue listening to you.
2. A good story has dark and light forces (conflict)
This is perhaps the most important element of a good story - conflict.
Every good story has a protagonist (main character) that is on a quest of some sort and an antagonist (the "bad guy" or opposite) that is trying to stop him or her from completing the quest.
These dark and light forces can be used literally or figuratively, but should always be present to make sure the story is whole.
3. A good story teaches us something or "WOW's" us
Any good story either teaches something or shows us something spectacular.
Great stories do both.
The lesson's good stories teach us can be as simple as "don't lie all the time, because when you tell the truth people won't believe you" as seen in the infamous fable The Boy Who Cried Wolf or it can be something more complex like Dr. Suess's clever warning against deforestation in The Lorax.
The message should be consistent throughout the story and clear in the end.
A good story can be summed up in just a few sentences. If you aren't able to do that with your story, you may want to think about why.
4. A good story has arches in everything
As they say in the biz - everything and everyone must go from "pole to pole" meaning nothing in the story can stay the same as the plot develops.
Everything is either getting better or it's getting worse. The winter storm worsens, the villain becomes even more evil OR becomes good, the snob is humbled and the stripper finds love in the end. You get the point.
There must be a change, an arch, or the story is flat and dead.
5. A good story, like the law, can be interpreted by the reader
While you're taking your audience on an emotional journey in your story, it's best to make sure your message is vague enough that it leaves a little bit up to the imagination. The best stories have a central theme, but are fluid enough to mean different things to different people.
6. A good story has a satisfying resolution
This is one of the most powerful ways to grow an audience as a business owner. When you provide a satisfying solution for the "conflict" your customers are experiencing, they start to associate your brand with that satisfaction. This is the ticket to customer loyalty and creating a tribe of raving fans. Emphasize the pains, and when you deliver on the quality you're promising, you'll be rewarded (and your customers will too!).
Now that you understand what makes a powerful story, apply it to your business and your brand. Everything you do should revolve around your brand story, and getting your customers on-board with not only your products and services, but your brand's overarching mission.
Until next time,