Storytelling: older than the marketplace
Cogito ergo sum. French philosopher Rene Descartes proposed this idea in 1637, which translates to “I think, therefore I am.” Certainly, the power of abstract thought is what separates humans from other animals.
Anthropologists now believe Homo sapiens succeeded, unlike other members of the genus Homo, Neanderthals, and Cro-Magnon for example, because their (our) brains had a greater capacity for speech and language. Today Descartes might modify his philosophy to “I think and speak, therefore I am.” In Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith proposed the written word as one of the three great human inventions; the other two are money and mathematics. But long before humans were writing we were telling stories. And these stories – told, memorized and retold over millennia – became the headwaters of human development. We, humans, love to tell stories almost as much as we love to listen to them.
Another thing that’s older than writing is the marketplace. Long before Madison Avenue ad copy, merchants were verbalizing the value and benefits of their wares. Surely early business storytelling was the origin of modern selling skills.
In 1965, Intel’s co-founder Gordon Moore made an observation that became Moore’s Law: “Computer processing power doubles about every two years.” But in his 1982 watershed book Megatrends, futurist John Naisbitt posed this seemingly paradoxical prophecy: “The more high tech we create, the more high touch we will want.”
So what does all of this mean? It means that even when compounding is the metric for the pace of growth for high tech generations, the most successful businesses will consistently deliver high touch to customers with one of humanity’s oldest, analog traits – telling stories. And it won’t even matter that the stories are delivered and consumed using high tech platforms.
Here are Blasingame’s Three Cs of Business Storytelling:
Connect – Use stories to connect with prospects and convert them into customers.
Convey – Use stories to convey your relevance, humanity, values, and expertise.
Create – Use stories to create customer memories that compel them to come back.
Storytelling is humanity in words. And since small businesses are the face and voice of humanity in the marketplace, we have a great advantage in the Age of the Customer. No market sector can execute the Three Cs of Business Storytelling to evoke powerful human feelings more than small businesses.
Regardless of how they’re delivered, stories don’t have to belong. I just told you five different ones in the first half of this article.
Write this on a rock … The Holy Grail of business storytelling is called “earned media,” when someone tells your story to others.