Newsflash: not all businesses are created equal.
There’s an astonishing number of businesses out there doing all kinds of things, from the mundane to the outrageous. Never in a million years would I suggest that each one of those businesses-owners should be bringing personal storytelling into their marketing efforts!
So what’s the perfect business circumstance that will turn your story into a superpower?
Well it’s important to remember that businesses don’t have a real story, people do (more on that particular distinction another day). So once again, this all comes down to you.
I’m going to assume for the sake of argument that you truly believe in what you’re selling, with every fibre of your being. That’s a must-have, so if you’re just trying to turn a quick buck by drop-shipping rebranded tat to bored TikTok browsers, feel free to exit stage left.
With that out of the way, let’s ask a couple of key questions:
- 1Have you previously experienced the same problems that you’re now helping others solve?
- 2Do your personality, values, and outlook largely mirror that of your ideal target market?
If you’ve answered a hard ‘yes’ to either of those (or better yet, to both), then good news: you’re what we call an Audience Reflector. Heck, maybe that can be your superhero name! Actually, terrible idea – forget that.
Anyway, what this means is: in terms of the online business world you’re trying to stake a claim in, you basically are your audience.
When that’s the case: if you’re able to tell your story in the right way, then you’re effectively telling the story of your audience at the same time. It’s highly likely that the journey you went on to get good at what you’re doing involved the same challenges they’re going through right now. Your hopes and dreams will mirror theirs. Your struggles and failures will resonate directly with their own. It’s a fast-track, guilt-free escape from The Hero Trap.
But that’s not all. Here’s where things really start cooking…
Pick virtually any crazy, space-based fantasy film. Have you ever noticed the main character is almost always human? And they usually start out in the most relatable situation, facing the most recognisably human problems possible? Sure, they’ll go off and have mind-bending adventures with loads of crazy aliens, but when we meet them, they’re just like us.
That’s because an audience needs an easy transition from the real world into a story, and if they’re watching someone who feels just like them, and largely thinks and acts as they would in similar situations, they get on board for the ride a heck of a lot easier. Once that connection is made, it’s as if the things that happen to the hero are happening to the viewer as well.
In the storytelling world, this is called projection. It’s a big deal for you, because it gives you something no larger company or competitor will ever be able to match: the ability to spark a true emotional connection with your audience that will keep them with you (and you with them) through thick and thin.
This is the scenario in which the ability to tell your story becomes a cast-iron, nailed-on, can’t-miss superpower. The communication between you and your audience becomes a reflected feedback loop that gets stronger with every step you take together.
And in that scenario...when your audience is finally ready to make a purchase, who do you think they’ll buy from? You? Or some other business offering the same thing a little cheaper? You’re darned right they’ll buy from you. They won’t even consider looking elsewhere; they’ll pay whatever it takes to work with the person who captured their imagination and brought them to the dance.
So we’ve learned why your story is a big deal, why you don’t need to be scared of telling it, and what will turn it into a superpower. Next, we need to think big and challenge the idea of what constitutes your story in the first place!