Beyond PR

Jul 23, 2013

The 4 Components of Effective Business Storytelling

With today’s advanced communication technologies, business leaders often neglect the importance of crafting a foundational business story. It has become easier than ever to lose sight of core marketing objectives by rushing into marketing tactics. Blair Caplinger (@blaircaplinger), founder of Telling Media Inc., is an expert in business story telling. He recently sat down with PR Newswire to discuss his upcoming Google+ Hangout “Using Storytelling to Drive Business Goals,” which examines storytelling as an essential component of any marketing strategy.

Though web technologies have great marketing potential, these tools often distract business leaders from effectively communicating what their central business values are about. “A story creation process should precede and inform the marketing and communications process,” says Caplinger. “There is a big difference between strategy and story; stories activate strategies, businesses can step back and make an assessment as to whether they’re telling the right story or not.” Without the proper narratives, businesses risk losing time and money if the marketing they produce does not deliver expected results. Caplinger’s client Ben Zenick, COO of Zencos, also joins the Google+ Hangout session to discuss how storytelling enhanced Zencos’ marketing objectives. Together they will define what a business story is, the different types of business stories, and where executives typically fail at creating stories.

According to Caplinger, a successful story must address four key components:

  • Emotion “Through our customer research we’ve discovered that even the most data driven people in the most analytic of industries still make purchase decisions based on emotional drivers” says Caplinger. Purchase decisions can be very personal experiences no matter what the industry.    Therefore, the customer should immediately understand how they will benefit from a purchase or product.
  • Why is it important? “Lead with your “Why”. It’s your purpose–your reason for being,” Caplinger explains, “because it is unique to your business.” In other words, a company must clearly state why their business is significant to the industry in order to stand out amongst competitors.
  • Audience Mindset According to Caplinger, “A customer’s mindset is the sphere that envelops their beliefs, their values, and their biases; if you don’t address these you can really cause disconnect.” Utilizing social media and traditional marketing research can provide valuable insight on the audience mindset.
  • Commonalities Caplinger believes that once business leaders narrow down why their business is important and what their audience mindset is, the commonalities between the two is “where you build empathy and understanding.” Shared experiences between the business and its audience should be the focus of a business story.

Storytelling is essential to every aspect of a business and can vary in purpose. While some stories aim to attract greater audiences or increase revenue, others can strengthen a company’s internal communications. Though Caplinger notes that a story cannot fix a flawed strategy, a good strategy can greatly benefit from an effective story. Visual elements such as infographics can help amplify the message in an engaging way, which Caplinger believes will be a trend in storytelling for many years to come.

To learn more about expanding your business through storytelling, join Blair Caplinger and PR Newswire on July 24th for part-one of our Storytelling Series, “Using Storytelling to Drive Business Goals.” Register here:

Author Shannon Ramlochan is a member of PR Newswire’s marketing team. 

1 Comments on Blog Post Title

Michael Cudahy (@MDCudahy) 14:03 EDT on Jul 25, 2013

Great stuff, Blair. I’ve been recommending “The Hero’s Journey” by Joseph Campbell to business people as a great guide to storytelling for some time now.

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