A word picture is an interchangeable term for storytelling. Storytelling predates writing and is arguably our most important tradition. A good story is very memorable as is a good storyteller. The reasoning behind this is that a lesson is learned that educates the audience. Stories typically build tension to a climax then resolves any issues. The most compelling stories contain familiar examples, emotion, and humor. In business, the art of storytelling is rarely if ever taught and practiced. We believe it to be one of the most powerful business skills to develop. Have you ever been in a meeting, an event or even lunch where someone, captivates the audience with a thought-provoking story that wins over their hearts and minds? In business, the audience is comprised of stakeholders. These are your customers, employees, and investors. Business storytelling is an art and those who master the techniques are highly effective communicators and motivators. In fact, this one skill alone may be your biggest, professional differentiator. In our evaluation of some of the best business storytellers, their stories generally fall into one of the following categories:
- Who we are – Our company, founders, employees or culture.
- Vision – The future is a better place.
- Why – What’s the mission? Why it’s worth investing my time.
- What we learned – Humanize the story by what we learned from making a mistake.
- Good Business – A positive impact on a person, company or the environment.
- Design – How we came up with the design. A “voice of the customer” approach or shortcomings that led up to the current design.
- How – People are surprisingly interested in how things work.
- Meet our customers – How real-world people use your product or service. As well as, how you can be part of something bigger.
So the story and culture behind a brand can be more important than the realities of the product or service. Such as functionality, durability or reliability, for example. The next time your online purchase isn’t what you expected and you say “Wait what?” Remember you bought a word picture.