Analog skills in a digital age, part 1: story telling

In an age of 140-character tweets, 50-slide PowerPoint presentations and multi-pivot tabled Excel spreadsheets, some of the most effective skills marketing leaders need will be analog. Yes, in a digital age it will be imperative that leaders develop the analog companions to their digital proficiencies.

The first of these skills is story telling. Humans are wired to learn through stories. We connect with people by hearing their experiences and relating to them. We are inspired to overcome obstacles by reading tales of triumph from those who faced adversity but didn’t quit. We are moved to action by watching others do things that touch our hearts.

As a change agent for your company, telling great stories may further your cause faster than just telling people what to do. Share your personal experiences in a way that helps people relate to you and aids in their understanding the concepts you are trying to communicate.

As a marketer, sharing your brand through stories can also be compelling. When I’m asked by someone to “tell me about nFusion,” I have learned the best way to do that is by telling my story. The reasons behind our portfolio of services become more clear. My executive experiences and the issues I wrestled with become a shared experience with the questioner. The frustrations I dealt with are the same ones he or she is dealing with. Explaining our firm through a personal story helps establish our uniqueness and our relevancy.

Having your customers tell their stories is also very powerful. OnStar used to do this nicely. Farmers Insurance is doing it now. Your brand-as-hero message seems much more compelling when it is told by others to whom your audience can relate.

For a quick guide on good story telling, watch the short video above. The key elements apply not just to radio or television, but to your stories as well.

Who have you worked with who leads through stories?