Storytelling in business takes many forms, and I recently had a chat with a storytelling guru who's going to show us how they used storytelling to quadruple REVENUE for their clients. Whether this is a new subject for you or you've dipped your toe in the power of storytelling as a marketing tool, I think just like me, you'll learn something useful from this blog that will help you do better in business.
Our guest is David Phillips – a marketing expert who specializes in helping entrepreneurs unleash the power of storytelling to improve their BRAND awareness and exposure, and in turn, increase turnover and PROFITABILITY.
(As a strategic bookkeeper, I like the sound of that!)
I know a bit about storytelling and story selling and the power of it in business and, actually, in our personal lives. What I would love is, for David to share with us a story about a customer that he's worked with that has 4x their sales through the power of storytelling. Here's what he has to say:
David: "With the power of storytelling, it really is just taking a lot of what we call hidden gems and secret formulas. One is like what the big boys do, the big companies like McDonald's and Coca-Cola who tell fantastic stories. We do have a client of ours who did approach us about this, but he was a little bit skeptical to begin with and he said what we hear a lot... He said, look, David, how can Hollywood help me? How can movies help me? The beauty from our end is we LISTEN to people, and usually if I listen to someone for 30 seconds, I already hear the fantastic story that they've got to tell. And this guy, Mr. K, he started out as a panel beater on Sydney's north side till he discovered that he had a real passion and love for reconditioning vans. And he has his business set up on Sydney's south side now where he's very busy, he has enough clients to keep him going, but he decided to give our program a go. As we listened to his story, we realized that what Mr. K does is he takes an old beaten up van and he turns it into the greatest van on the street. And so using the very simple, the basics of storytelling, we used power images and we realized that what Mr. K does is very similar to what an orchestra leader does in directing his symphony. That essentially was the story that we put together for him. Shortly after we finished the project, he had a customer in Melbourne who contacted him and wanted him to recondition his van. And since then, he has opened up a workshop in Melbourne as his business has really started to grow."
Cool, isn't it? But let's dive deeper into the story behind the story.
David: "He never knew that this is the power that can come out of this type of program. Now, with the power of storytelling and SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING – I won't even say that it's the way of the future. It's very much where we are now at the moment, and that, I guess, is the main media almost everyone uses. Because just the sort of the results that you can get by using social media, by using platforms like TikTok, LinkedIn, Facebook, a lot of businesses already have started feeling their way in this area. They're just not aware that the potential is there. But TikTok alone, just in terms of exposure and the type of people that see your products, your product services, and your story, it can increase your customer engagement by anything up to 3000%, just in the type of hits that you get online. And that really is the starting point. From there, it's a question of trying to, well, leverage that as best you can."
So, are there actually industries that are served better by this than others?
David: "When we look at the big boys, I always come back to McDonald's who's such a fantastic marketing company. They've got all these great products, but they tell stories, and the secret they use are stories that just RESONATE with the ordinary person, the ordinary man and woman on the street. But, they still use YouTube. Everyone is using YouTube. The companies like McDonald's, Domino's, Coco-Cola – they all use YouTube. But also, there's TikTok coming into play. Now, I forgot her name but there's that young Asian lady who used TikTok to advertise her hairstyling product and she was like an overnight success. She had hundreds and thousands of hits, and that all translated into SALES. Now, I wouldn't say all industries will be served best by this. I mean, I think there are some industries (particularly some of the larger corporations), but I don't believe that manufacturing use it and abuse it as much. I think in broad terms, this fits more of the retail industries, the point to point companies – certainly, they use social media a lot. To give you another example, at the moment, we have a project with an online business coach and he's in Southeast Asia. We are getting close now to starting filming for him, and he's going to use mainly LinkedIn because he's a business coach. Most of his clients, he reaches through LinkedIn. So now, he's using our storytelling project to increase his business."
Given that most of my readers are service-based businesses that are either professional services or trade-type, I think storytelling works well for all service businesses. Let's hear David's thoughts on this,
David: "I totally agree! Actually, everyone has a story to tell. Stories resonate with people, they emotionally connect, they charge us, and they get us thinking and talking about products, services, businesses. And what you really want is once you get that first, is to kind of push to increase your CUSTOMER EXPOSURE, then your customers essentially they become the billboards of your business. Once that word of mouth starts spreading, you get this huge, huge domino effect. And it can work to me, for anyone. And Steve and I, our background, Iconic started out in the late last millennium in the entertainment industry. So we very much do know the power of storytelling, and as I say, you listen to someone for 20, 30 seconds, you already start hearing, wow, this person has a fantastic story. What they just lack maybe is the expertise on how to get that story exposed."
So, how does David actually work with clients to story sell for them?
What's in the stories?
David: "Well, what we do.. Clients can simply book in a call through our website. Then, we begin with an obligation-free meeting. And that, to me, is the most exciting part – because that's when we listen. We listen to the business owner, we listen to the issues that they're having, what's drawn them to our program, but, we also listen for the seeds of their story. From that meeting, we'll start giving them hints or ideas on how to get their story across. And what you're really looking at is, if you look at how Hollywood works, Hollywood is one of the few places where you can get 25 million on opening night. That is the success story in itself. And Hollywood, a movie, it begins with a teaser, that then goes to a trailer. That's where you look to create your WORD OF MOUTH, and of course, hopefully, get people to come to see the movie. So, that's what we do. We look at that, and we speak to the client and we say, you can have anything from a 30-second teaser, right up to a three, which a three-minute blockbuster. Or, if they want to go all the way to 10 minutes, which is what we call our ultimate hit. The three-minute blockbuster is what we feel the best because that way, you can cover everything. We get a 30-second teaser, that's where you begin. And from there, depending on what the customer wants and the feeling that we will get, we come back with an initial script based on the story we feel that will work for that client. From there, they give us their feedback, they tell us what they like, what they don't like, and within two to three sessions, we look to have the script ready. And from there, then it's a question of filming it and getting it onto the social media."
Very much like pitching a movie, right?
The video, in the same way as Hollywood pitches a movie, is pitching the BENEFITS, the OUTCOMES, everything about the business owner and their business by storytelling.
David: "A very simple example is the recent Tom Cruise movie, Maverick. Now, do you know that the trailer from Maverick has over 40 million hits on YouTube? That's the kind of power that a trailer has. Now, of course, it's Tom Cruise naturally, but that again is a trailer that starts to tell you a bit of the story of the main character. That's what hooks you in. That's what gets you talking about it. It gets me talking about it. I talk to my friend, wow, you know Maverick's coming out. Have you seen the trailer? Check it out. The word of mouth starts. And from there, out of that 40 million, you wait to see how many of those are going to go see the movie. The beauty of our story is that, those going to see the movie are those people who liked the teaser or the trailer of the business, and wants to know more about the product or service. They look to getting in touch."
In terms of the fee structure, I asked David if this is something every Joe can really get into. Like, is this something that small service-based business with a couple on the team can actually budget for? (Clearly, the return on investment is going to be there, so it doesn't sound like a cost – it sounds like an investment.)
David: "Absolutely – that's how the program is structured. We offer it on an affordable level, depending on whether they want to go for the three-minute blockbuster, there's a 30-second teaser and there's a 60-second, what we call our wow package. And then there's the big 10-minute ultimate hit. The beauty of the 10-minute ultimate hit is you can structure that any way you want. If you want to do ten one-minute wows, you could do that. So that is how the program is structured, and we're not just looking to get in and out quickly either. I mean, we stay with our clients, we look at the kind of results that they're getting when it hits the social media, and we very much look at the next stage they may want to look at if they want to take the program further to the next stage. A lot of our customers will come to us – as I've said, a village marketer in Southeast Asia, he said when he gets his product, he's just going to go on LinkedIn, see how that goes, and then he may consider looking at other platforms like Facebook, YouTube. They're the kind of options and alternatives that the business can have."
I know it's the big thing – story telling or story selling, and I've been hearing a lot about it for a couple of years. Hence, I was really keen to have this chat with David, learn this rule of the game, and have you do the same.
If you found this insightful and you'd like to connect with David and Steve, head to steve-and-david.com.