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How complex businesses use storytelling to drive growth

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to most of you that engaging with consumers through compelling storytelling is an essential part of marketing in the business-to-consumer (B2C) world.

Take Disney, for instance. The company has no less than 15 live-action movie adaptations of its animated films in the works, building on the media conglomerate’s long-standing legacy of sharing magic and fairytales of all kinds with story lovers of all ages and identities, all over the world — and enjoying the mind-bogglingly large merchandising opportunities that arise from those stories.

However, big name B2C companies like Disney, Netflix and Amazon aren’t the only businesses that benefit from storytelling in their marketing approaches. Providers of complex business-to-business (B2B) services, such as accounting services, financial advising, law and healthcare technology, often struggle to differentiate themselves from competitors in their industries, or market their services in ways that aren’t dull or full of technical jargon too difficult for everyday people to understand.

WordWrite’s President and Chief Storyteller, Paul Furiga, explored the value of B2B storytelling in his October 19 webinar, “How complex businesses use storytelling to drive growth.” He introduced viewers to the many benefits storytelling offers B2B companies, how and where to share your company’s story, and three examples of B2B companies sharing their stories successfully.

Before companies can market themselves effectively and convert qualified leads into loyal customers, they must first understand their most powerful marketing asset: their story. Specifically, their Capital S Story, the one that explains why someone should buy from you, work for you, invest in you or partner with you.

So, why are Capital S Stories significant for B2B companies?

According to interviews with the late and beloved children’s TV show host, Fred Rogers, as well as several sources close to him, Fred used to carry around a quote in his wallet that read, “Frankly, there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story.” When describing this quote, filmmaker and voice actor Andrew Stanton said, “The way I like to interpret that is probably the greatest story commandment, which is, “Make me care” — please, emotionally, intellectually, aesthetically, just make me care.”

Though B2B marketing may appear to some as the less glamorous or creative sibling of B2C marketing, telling the right stories can add tremendous character and personality to B2B brands and strategies.

Storytelling also provides proven, measurable results for B2B companies in their efforts to connect with audiences across complex industry verticals. According to a 2013 Google/CEB Marketing Leadership Council Study, B2B customers are significantly more emotionally connected to their service providers than consumers are in B2C relationships.

Though their desires and motivations are different, B2B buyers, like B2C buyers — and all humans on this earth — are driven primarily by emotion in their decision making, and what better way to appeal to audiences’ emotions than with the power of story?

How do you know if you need help identifying and leveraging your Capital S Story?

As Paul shared in his webinar, you’ll know your business’s story needs more exploration and refining if:

  • Your sales are stuck or growth is inconsistent
  • Your messaging (internally and externally) is inconsistent
  • Your prospects see little or no difference between you and your competitors
  • You’re having trouble hiring and retaining talent
  • You have a limited (or no) marketing strategy
  • Your marketing ROI is unknown or nonexistent

Just like your company, your story should evolve to stay current with industry trends. To ensure your Capital S Story is a strong tool to help navigate these evolving trends, you and your team should continue to ask questions like:

  • What demographics define us?
  • What is our world view?
  • How do we like to interact with our clients?

It takes time, patience and a healthy amount of strategizing to cultivate a business’s story. But when the right Capital S Story is leveraged through your complex B2B marketing efforts, you’ll be able to move hearts and minds and discover a whole new world of success for your company and clients.

Download WordWrite’s Capital S Story Exercise to stir your imagination and help you and your team generate ideas for your business’s Capital S Story.

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