Unlikely Business Models That Are Using Storytelling

Story sells. And businesses are catching on.

Business Storytelling

Storytelling is often regarded as an antiquated performance art, but in reality it’s alive and well in every piece of good marketing that we encounter on a day-to-day basis. Any opportunity that businesses have to relate to people and inspire an emotional reaction in their intended audience, it’s storytelling at work.

There are a surprising number of businesses that are beginning to employ storytelling in their methods. Some are no shocker: their very business is a kind of hyper-focused storytelling. But a few might surprise you.

  1. Crowdfunding
  2. The popular websites for raising money like GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and Indiegogo offer their users a few helpful tips to get them started. They have quick tutorials explaining how to set up their crowdfunding page, how to get some donations started, and how to manage their fundraising campaign successfully. One of the tips they recommend: Tell a story!

    Those viral internet sob-fests of sick children, struggling undiscovered artists, and families seeking to be reunited are famous for a reason. They engaged the world with their story and connected with people on an emotional level.

    With an eye-catching headline as the all-important opening to their story, these people didn’t just ask for money. They crafted their tales of misfortune. They introduced dynamic characters that readers felt something for, recognized, and wanted to reach out to.

    The basic building blocks of storytelling are what has put crowdfunding websites (and their online sensations) front-and-center in the public eye.

  3. Business Leaders
  4. It’s not just businesses that are learning to use storytelling to their advantage. The leaders of these businesses are using to promote themselves personally in order to become a real face for their company. Mark Zuckerberg has his wunderkind story. Bill Gates started in a garage. J.K. Rowling was a financially-struggling single mom. Steve Jobs was an innovator perpetually seeking perfection.

    These people are integral to their brand’s success. They’re the main character; the protagonist. You root for them, or at the very least you’re interested in their personal story. That interest extends to their businesses, which is a part of their story that you now have an emotional response to.

    A recognizable and relatable main character at the helm of a business’ story is a smart way for people to connect a corporation with a human element, and make for a more successful company.

  5. Science
  6. If the non-scientific world is going to connect with scientific possibilities and concepts, then they need something to compare abstract ideas to. That’s where storytelling comes in.

    Scientists and researchers are beginning to implement storytelling as a final step in the process of presenting their findings. After the research and testing is complete, theses have been reviewed by peers, and other experts have weighed in, scientists now have the opportunity to bring their discoveries to the public.

    But for a public who may not know much about complex scientific jargon, a story is the best way to reach everyone. Scientists are hiring artists, dancers, musicians, and more to help them explain scientific concepts in a way that everyone can understand and feel a response to. If they want their discovery to move forward in the world, this is a key step.

    TedTalks are a good example of how science can use storytelling to connect with an audience and bring it to a more human level. Through stories, science can step away from numbers and bring in a more interactive element.

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