A few years ago, I attended the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women luncheon where I learned a lot of interesting statistics about heart disease. But today, I can’t remember them. What I do remember are the personal stories of women affected by the disease. I identified with their experiences, which led me to pay more attention to my own health.
While many people may want just the facts, it can be difficult to retain figures, data and statistics. Telling a story, on the other hand, can transform corporate rhetoric into persuasive language that wins people’s hearts and minds. Effective storytelling:
In business, stories can express ideas, values and organizational culture. For example, Tom’s of Maine, a popular line of natural toiletries, shares the story of its transformation since its humble beginnings. Co-founders Tom and Kate Chappell used a $5,000 loan to create a company that marries spiritual values and commercial success. Now a multimillion-dollar organization, Tom’s continues to carry out its original mission: to respect individuals, their communities and the environment.
Storytelling is also a great way to express teamwork, overcome obstacles and rally around a cause. The TOMS shoes story started in 2006 when CEO Blake Mycoskie visited a small village in Argentina and found that many children had no shoes. As a result, Mycoskie founded TOMS, a shoe company that matches every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. The company’s story resonates with its customers by letting them know what they can do to help and how to do it.