For the past few years, I have been waging a Don Quixote-like campaign to convince fast-growing B2B technology companies to tell better stories. I’ve written blog posts and a book, Marketing Spark, and done workshops.
To be honest, it is a challenging and often uphill battle. Many B2B companies recognize the value of brand storytelling but it’s just not a strategic priority.
They’re mostly obsessed with customer acquisition. They want and need sales to validate and grow their businesses so often storytelling takes a backseat.
As a storytelling advocate, it pains me to hear that customer acquisition and sales are more important than storytelling. To me, storytelling is as critical as product development, sales, account management, and customer service.
Storytelling is one of the key pillars of business success. If it’s not seen an ultra-important, it is difficult for a business to scale and grow.
As I always say, companies that tell good stories will win and companies that don’t tell stories will lose. It’s as simple as that.
Here are three reasons why brand storytelling matters and why B2B companies need to invest the time, money and resources to make it happen.
Number one is that we live in a fast-moving world in which people are preoccupied with their smartphones, they are multi-tasking, and there’s a tsunami of content and information.
Research has shown the average person sees or hears more than 100,00 words a day. We’re talking content marketing, social media, billboards, radio, text messages, video games, etc.
Given there’s so much noise, how does a B2B company attract the spotlight? How does it get consumers to pay attention to their brand and products?
The answer: brand storytelling and being abundantly clear about what you do, who you serve, and how you’re unique.
In other words, tell a story about why what you do matters when there are so many competitive options.
Here’s the thing, every company has dozens, if not hundreds, of competitors. They look like you and they sell the same type of products offering the same benefits, features, and prices.
How do you stand out from all the other B2B companies that are marketing just as aggressively as you are? You do that by telling a better story; a story that’s compelling and clear. A story that engages, entertains and educates.
What happens if you’re competing against a company with a better story; a company that invested in brand storytelling and sees it as a way to outflank the competition? If you’re going head-to-head with a company like that, chances are that you were going to lose.
You’re going to lose even if your product is better. A better product is good but if people don’t understand what you do and they know it exists, your product will get lost within the competitive landscape.
The second reason that storytelling matters is it ensures that everyone within your organization is on the same page.
They need to understand know what you do, who you serve and why you’re unique so when they go venture into the world. This applies to your senior executives, marketing, sales, customer service, account managers, and administrative staff.
Whoever works for your organization, they know the story inside out. They are reading off the same page.
Are your salespeople, for example, telling a variation of the truth that’s different from what the marketing department? Do your sales decks convey the same stories as your social media activities?
With a consistent story, everyone moves forward in lockstep. Everyone knows your story and how you’re different from the competition, which could be telling stories that are as good or better. Plus it’s easier to tell your story to investors, partners, potential employees, the media.
The third reason for good brand storytelling is it underpins your marketing and sales activities.
Many companies are focused on tactical execution. It is a matter of getting stuff done. Their marketing is multifaceted. They believe that if they use various channels, something will work. It’s like throwing pasta at the wall to see what sticks.
One of the keys, however, to effective sales and marketing is telling different stories on different channels AND being consistent about who you serve and how you’re unique.
With good storytelling, your sales and marketing will be more successful. It will be focused and your stories, regardless of the marketing or sales channel, will be on point and highlight how your company stands out from the crowd.
The third reason for good storytelling is it underpins your sales and marketing.
Sometimes, it’s difficult to see the connection between having good brand storytelling and what you do from a sales and marketing perspective.
But a good story establishes strong connections with target audiences. It brings people into your universe and, as important, keeps them engaged and within the fold.
If you’re not sure about the effectiveness of your brand story, take a step back to examine if you’re crystal clear about what you do and why it matters. If you have a brand story, take a hard and honest look to see if is as good as it can be.
If you haven’t invested in your story and don’t have a compelling brand narrative, that’s a major problem because storytelling matters more than ever.
There’s no way around. In a competitive market place with so many options and so much information, storytelling is how to capture and keep the spotlight.
In my new book, Marketing Spark, there’s a major focus on how to develop story-driven marketing. Marketing Spark puts the spotlight on best practices and provides tools and templates to develop messaging more easily.