The ABC’s of Successful Commercial Storytelling

“No story is the same to us after a lapse of time; or rather we who read it are no longer the same interpreters.” -George Elliott

If you have recently joined the social media bandwagon you might be asking yourself (or your communications manager) why, after a month of telling customers how great your product or service is while utilizing these new fangled applications, has yet to produce any measurable results?

I’ve got good news and bad news for you:  the good news is that you are keeping up with the new school business climate; the bad news is your story might not be as compelling as it could be coupled with the fact engagement remains at the core of social media achievement.  Engagement means responding to public customer comments, posting complimentary and relevant information at no charge (Value Added), and demonstrating an authentic and consistent commitment to meeting your prospect and customer’s needs by encouraging two-way conversations.

Many old school marketing mavens are perplexed by the notion that the New School Rules of Marketing now require a more proactive response than just a “thank you for considering our product or service” blurb.  I can tell you a large chunk of new school success can be built around your ability to authentically and consistently craft your business story and be able to “tell” this story in a brief and concise manner.

The ABC’s of Successful Storytelling include:

A. Authenticity.   No one wants to be snowballed or bullied into buying so make sure your story is authentic in scope and your goals for your product or service align with that vision.  Don’t be afraid to include personal anecdotes from yourself or from a client/customer (with permission), as nothing speaks louder than “true” stories.

B.  Brevity.  Keep it simple and to the point:  answer your company’s who, what, why, where and how succinctly.  Who (who are we-what is our business), why (why this product/service was created), the how (how our service benefits society, how our product helps you stay healthy) and the where (where people can go to receive your product or service).  Create your own 30 second elevator speech (I’m Julie aka The Story Muse.  I help local nonprofit, community and business leaders increase their customer base by crafting authentic stories through various mediums targeting their primary audience) and build from there.

C.  Consistency.  The story and subsequent chapters should be consistent across the board:  literature, web content, social media and employees should mirror The Big Story.  Consider allowing your employees to come up with their own 30 second elevator pitch – you might just find their version might be more concise (and upbeat) than your own.  Regardless, as a business owner it’s reasonable to ask and expect your staff to mirror the story.

Be clear about what you do and who benefits from your product or service.  “We are a nonprofit that helps unwed mothers.” So you help pregnant teens, or any woman who is pregnant and unwed?  Do you help women in Texas, California or anywhere in the west?  Let’s retell it by stating “We are a non-profit organization that assists single pregnant women in rural Oregon who lack financial and emotional support receive education and medical services so they can make informed decisions about their future and that of their unborn child.”  This is their 30 second elevator pitch.   Then we can answer why, where and how we do this.

For those of you interested in digging deeper on how to use social media, blogs and other “new school” marketing tools I highly recommend David Meerman Scott’s outstanding book “The New Rules of Marketing & PR” ( where he covers the whole new media enchilada from blogging to viral marketing techniques.

The beginning of telling a compelling story starts today; there simply is no reason to write an ending.

One Response to “The ABC’s of Successful Commercial Storytelling”
  1. Ron says:

    You are awesome – this is great info – but I need help! Contacting you this week…thanks, RM

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