Kylie Carlson is the founder of the Wedding and Event Institute, a certification and training company offering courses in wedding planning, event planning and event design. With campuses in the US, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, Kylie is a sought after international speaker on the business of weddings and events. She has also helped to launch the businesses of over 250 wedding planners around the world and is on the Advisory Board of Event Solutions Magazine.
Stories have been told throughout the world for as long as anyone can remember. A story aims to evoke an emotional response and triggers the senses of the listener, thereby creating that all-important connection between the storyteller (you, the business owner) and of course the listener (your client).There is your key: you want your potential client to connect with you and that is the power behind storytelling.
Compared to ten years ago, when we only had the more traditional forms of media available to us, we now have the world at our fingertips. How and where your story is played out has changed. So your story needs to change with it. It needs to be sharp and snappy – something that will catch the eye and create a connection with the reader so it stands out among all the tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram pictures and more.
Why storytelling marketing?
I don’t know about you, but facts and statistics have never stuck in my brain. They may travel through, but they never seem to take up residence until anchored by some kind of meaning. The way our brains are programmed allows us to really connect emotionally with a story and gives us the ability to process information more effectively in story format.
So what is the link between storytelling and brands? The strength of a brand is based on the stories people relate about their experiences, assumptions and judgments. Without realizing it, we are telling a story about our experiences with a brand nearly every day. How many times have you raved about something to friends and family? Maybe it was an experience you had at the supermarket or trying a new product for the first time. All of these experiences are touch points and by us relaying the information we are spreading the word about a product or service. Effectively we are helping to promote a brand by telling the story of our experience with it.
This can also work in a negative way, as we are also quick to moan and groan about our experience with a product or service telling anyone who will listen how awful it was. Either way it is still storytelling.
Why is it so important for your business to tell a story? Trust. In one simple word you want your client to trust you. How do you build trust? By getting to know someone. How do you allow your client to get to know you? By telling them your story.
Storytelling in the wedding industry
As a wedding professional, you are your brand and the reason people buy brands is because of the way it makes them feel.Your clients are some of the hardest clients in the world to deal with. You’re dealing with a very personal part of a couple’s life. You’re dealing with a couple who is probably feeling a little out of their depth because they’ve never put together an event before, let along one of this magnitude and importance. There are so many options available that they have no idea which is the best option. Put that together with the raging emotions involved in wedding planning and you have a client who could go over the edge at any time. They’re looking for someone they can trust.
It doesn’t end there though. Trust will win the mind of your client but desire will win the heart of your client. You want your client to want you, or the product or service you are selling, so your story needs to create a desire within them.
Using storytelling to cultivate desire
The brands that are the most desirable are the ones that appeal to our emotions and tell a story that draws you in to make you want to buy their product and be a part of the experience they have created.
Research shows that it isn’t the tangible things that represent the biggest percentage of a company’s value, but the intangibles like the perception of a brand and the story behind it. So what does that prove? Stories have equity.
Don’t be afraid to tell your story. I know for many storytelling makes them go blank. They have a preconceived idea that what they need to write has to be the size of a novel, but that’s simply not true.
More often than not the story of our company is no more than a couple of sentences or paragraphs. I like to think of my company story being the same size as the blurb you find on the back of a book. It captures nearly an entire book in a couple of paragraphs and it has the unenviable task of having to capture the imagination of whoever picks up the book, enough to make them want to buy it. That’s what you’re doing when you create the story of your company. You need to make your client want to pick you up and buy you.