Storytelling is the oldest form of communication. We tell stories to preserve history, to ease into bedtime, to remember what would otherwise be forgotten. My grandpa, who everyone calls Barney, is the master storyteller. From stories of his times during the war to playing with his band The Sunshine Boys to growing up during the depression, there is always a robust telling of a cherished memory, and most stories end with a lesson that we are 'not supposed to forget.' It's people like him that inspired my own stories, and encouraged me to always follow what is true and good in the world, especially in business.
When I started The Storyteller Agency, before I even knew what I was going to call it, I knew that it had to have something to do with stories. I grew up working in my family's bookstore and coffee shop in Cookeville, Tennessee (that's the coffee shop there to the left), and literally surrounded by physical stories, I gained a deep appreciation of the way stories (both in books and in life) brought people together. An expectant mother would come into the shop and sit for hours reading books of baby names, trying to choose exactly the right legacy to give the new life growing inside of her. Or a tearful middle-aged man would come in and touch each of the books in the self-help section, looking for just the right book to help him through the loss of his father. People would connect in the store, either through the stories they were reading or the stories they were sharing with each other.
Marketing is a lot like that bookstore. We all have stories to tell, and we all have stories to hear, and sometimes we hear stories that we didn't even know we were looking to be told. Modern marketing is all about the sell-sell-sell, and somewhere along the way we've lost the connection with each other that is so easily found through storytelling.
So I named my company The Storyteller Agency, as a reminder to us all that in everything we do, we are creating stories; stories that share our experiences and knowledge, stories that teach and inspire, stories that create new thoughts and ideas. Marketing should never be about the product or the service that your business offers, but rather about the story that your product or service can inspire in others. And these stories are told through written, visual and social content. Posting just for the sake of posting is fruitless, only serving to contribute to the endless supply of sludge found online today. Look at what you are offering your clients, and rather than thinking about how you can get them to buy in to whatever you're selling, think instead about how your product plays (or can play) into their lives and their stories.
Each of us has a unique set of experiences, our own history and personality, our own goals and hopes and dreams. The stories we are hoping to tell can be made possible by those around us, whether it is our friends, family, or strangers we haven't even met yet. It is up to us to help make the right stories possible, and to share that possibility through good storytelling. Let go of the idea of marketing. Sure, it's a necessary evil that goes along with owning or running a business, but if you do it right, you're telling great stories instead. Inspire your audience, engage your customers, and teach your clients through honesty and good storytelling. If you do it right, when it comes time for them to make the purchase, they've already decided to become part of your story.
Stop Marketing. Start Storytelling.
For more information about The Storyteller Agency, or to share your vision and story with us, contact us here. And then go out and tell a good story.