“All I know is logic,” says Commanding Officer Mr. Spock of Star Trek Enterprise. What Mr. Spock says about himself might be true for Vulcans – but certainly not for humans. We are emotional beings that tend to make decisions based more on a ‘gut feeling’ than on hard facts. If you manage to involve the people you talk to emotionally and touch them on a personal level, the chances of succeeding and winning them over are very high. This fact is also true in a business environment.

Marketing methods such as storytelling reach customers on an emotional level and can influence them positively without having to present detailed content or sophisticated business plans. Rather, it is a matter of building up a basis of trust with the customer and remaining in his or her memory as an authentic partner. A business relationship can grow and prosper on this positive foundation.

The B2B sector is often left out of these strategic considerations. Many B2B companies still see storytelling as a gimmick or as a means of image advertising for B2C brands. However, storytelling can play a decisive role at all points of the customer journey, especially for business customers. No matter if key decision maker, buyer or CEO: The decision makers are not from Vulcan, but from earth – and are open for exciting stories.

Why stories?

With stories, we indirectly convey information and knowledge to our counterparts. Packed into an exciting narrative, this knowledge is much more memorable than pure factual knowledge. Neuroscientists have even scientifically proven the potential of stories. Uri Hasson, active in the field of neuroscience, describes a “brain-to-brain coupling,” for example. When a story is told, the same brain regions are active inside the sender and receiver, the narrator and the listener. In storytelling, you are literally on the same wavelength.

In addition, stories trigger the release of oxytocin, which is commonly known as the “cuddle hormone”. When we feel compassion and build trust, oxytocin levels are high. From a marketing point of view, this offers enormous potential to have a positive influence on the customer, for example to make him curious or to confirm his purchasing decision.

Stories therefore address people on a mental and physical level. The individual’s feeling towards the storyteller is positively influenced. Because when we as storytellers present a story, we become narrators and share a common experience with the listener. We reveal ourselves, so to speak, as part of the same individual and emotional species and thus create a common basis for communication. This connects us with the listener. The more we tell about ourselves, the more trust our counterpart can place in us.

In order to be able to use these advantages, however, stories must have certain characteristics. Talking about our cat’s latest escape or chatting about the stormy weather does not necessarily count as storytelling. Stories must be exciting, interesting and relevant. The same principles apply to writing brand and corporate stories as to writers and screenwriters.

5 tips for successful B2B stories

  1. A good story is relevant. This means, it needs a reason to be told. Every fairy tale has a moral and teaches the listener something. And so, every product or brand story has the task of providing a meaningful reason.
  2. A good history is personal. It has a protagonist, a hero with whom the viewer can identify. Storytelling is exemplary narration – without general target groups or abstract companies, with a focus on individuals.
  3. A good story is full of conflict. We find stories that only show us how expectations are met implausible – and boring. You have to have the courage to report on difficulties and challenges. Even if the instinct of traditional marketing professionals and corporate communicators tends to emphasize products only in a positive environment, a good story needs problems and conflicts that can be solved.
  4. A good story is full of emotions. Surprise, excitement and empathy are just some of the emotions that can trigger strong stories. They are not only a guarantee that we remember stories better, they are also the reason why we tell stories.
  5. A good story goes viral. This principle is the quality test for all company and product stories: “Is the story so good that it will be retold?” This is true not only on the internet, but also shortly after a presentation, a sales talk or after a phone call with a potential customer.

With these building blocks in mind, good stories can be written in a targeted manner whose content will be convincing. By the way, the finished story is not only limited to words and writing, but also inspires in picture and video formats. Find out here why “story-showing” is becoming increasingly important in marketing.

Especially in the B2B sector, many stories are waiting to unfold their potential. All you need is the courage to tell the right stories and, above all, to choose the right story at the right time in the buying process.

Of course, many factors are decisive for economic success and successful marketing. However, in view of the increased competitive conditions, it is becoming more and more important to differentiate oneself from competitors and to remain in the customer’s mind as the best option. And of course, that works best with a good story.

 

– This article was written by Laura Kauffmann, Account Executive at HBI

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