Storytelling is an interesting term.
Many of us think of it as the fairy tales we read to our kids when they were little. But when it comes to a business, you must tell your story. Don’t let other people do it for you. Effective marketing is effective storytelling.
Hollywood aside, authentic storytelling is not fabricating. It’s not lying. It’s not hype. It’s reaching to your soul, touching the heart of who and what you are, and effectively telling your story. In this era, we too often get into the trap of what we should look like, say, and be so that we will be “liked” (not just in person but on all those virtual sites). It’s easy to get depressed when you think you’re not “living up” to perceptions out there in the world. Don’t get wrapped up in the “I should” based on the internet.
What’s your story? All of us as humans (and consumers) inherently embrace authentic “stories.” Joseph Campbell, the world’s foremost authority on mythology, figured out the core things that motivate us as individuals. Many brilliant filmmakers have tapped into Campbell’s simple truths – and those are some of the movies, such as “Star Wars” and “The Matrix,” that resonate with us the most. Campbell’s observations are as valuable now as they were in his day.
True, I’m not a scholar by any means, but here’s a quote from Campbell about humanity: “I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”
So, extrapolating, there are childhood stories that now, unfortunately, can be evoked when a company bombards its social media followers: “Chicken Little” or “The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf.” People get numbed to the perceived notion they you’re just pushing out propaganda – “The sky is falling ...” or “Wolf, wolf,” when there is none.
What is your real story, not the hype you can come up with for the day to try to secure a few “likes.” Just because you get a lot of clicks doesn’t mean people believe you – they’re just looking to make sure the sky isn’t falling or the wolf isn’t at the door.
With the information overload these days, we often can’t discern authenticity with businesses and professionals, and even individuals. We all get bombarded by Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Durango has always celebrated the fact that we are “real,” a “real town.” I’d like to suggest that everyone reflect on our true stories, and tell those true stories to promote our businesses and our lives.
At the chamber, we are hosting a series of workshops for authentic marketing – authentic storytelling – to help you shape your future. The five-week series starts Oct. 2; we’ll keep you posted as we put together the programs for you to attend to help you tell your authentic story.
Jack Llewellyn is executive director of the Durango Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.