Stories, they are ‘word of mouth’ experiences being shared

I used to view telling stories within training or presentations as ‘nice to haves’…. An anecdote that would help provide some colour to a potentially dull subject or simply a real example that would help people grasp the point I was trying to make….Not anymore! Stories are VITAL to your businesses success in the 21st century….and you have technology to thank for it!

Over the past few years our buying habits have changed because of technology. Now you may immediately  scream ‘we already know that’…..and yes we do, because we know people now buy more goods and services on line more than ever before, but that is not the point I wish to make. Not only are we changing ‘how’ we buy goods and services but we are also changing ‘why’ we buy…. because of technology.

I must admit for a good few years I could never see the point of knowing that someone was washing their hair that night, I never had any interest in the picture of someone’s dog in its new super hero coat, and I was appalled that poor souls would use this new form of communication to share their woes with the world, just so they could make us feel as bad as them….But, fast forward a few years and I have been sucked in!

Whilst preparing the presentation I kept reading the experts saying that people now want and demand to share in other people’s experiences, and their buying habits are affected by it, I initially scoffed at the idea that was until recently my wife asked me to book a hotel for a trip we had booked to Venice.

What was the first thing I did in considering which hotel to book? I went straight to trip advisor to seek the opinions of people I have never, and will never meet! I was actually wanting to share in their experiences! Even if I liked the look of one hotel, if Jane from Morecambe said it was dirty and the service was poor…that was it, the hotel was struck off my potential list. Then I started thinking back…I cannot remember the last time I bought anything of any relevance over the past couple of years without checking on the stories that other people had to share…I had evolved!

The more I researched the more I discovered that the sharing of experiences and stories was now common place in people’s buying habits. In an article from the December edition of the Entrepreneur magazine came this quote “Of all the high and lows, storytelling seemed to be the major business lesson of 2014. Financials still matter to investors, but your story is now the story”

When you think about it what are stories, they are ‘word of mouth’ experiences being shared.
A survey by an organisation called Nielsen in 2012 quoted as saying “Ninety-two percent of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth or recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising…….Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted source of brand information and messaging, with 70 percent of global consumers surveyed online indicating they trust messages on this platform”

So what is your story? People need to be allowed to get to know you, people expect to be able to engage with a company, Where did you come from? What do you stand for? Why do you do what you do? What is the difference you want to make?

Coupled with this what are people’s experiences of your goods and services? Hopefully they are excellent and if they are, are you collecting these stories, are you actively using them on your website, within your social media and throughout all your advertising and marketing activity.

A lovely line I picked up was ‘you cannot be the hero in your own story’. Gone are the days where we can write about how great we are as a company, how wonderful we look after our customers, how superior our products or services are……Now our customers have to tell the world for us.

My final message and please remember, nowadays ‘people want interactions not transactions!’

Our Stories are features on ‘STORIES’ section of   blog.bnionline.co.uk  

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