Telling your stories

All of us learn how to tell stories and paint the picture daily, but now that we are working with natives more than ever, how can we convince our customers that good storytelling is of big importance to them too? And what should we think about when we tell our stories?

Important is to convince our customers that them telling a dry, rational and numbers-based story might not always be the best way to go when you want to sell something. And the same, of course, goes for us. Just rambling on about your USP’s is never gonna do the trick. What we want, is to speak to customers on an emotional level.

Whether it’s old cavemen stories or the most recent Marvel film, all good stories are based on three main ingredients.


• The main character: The person to whom something will happen. In a film or book, this often is the hero of the story, but in a commercial story, this could be the company, the CEO, a product or a service.

• The incident: Something unexpected happen, which means the hero steps into an unknown and unstable future. The hero’s journey can be compared to the buyer’s journey when it comes to a commercial story.

• The conflict (and it’s solution): The events reach a climax and the main character gets through this in a fully authentic way.


According to writer and digital strategy director Henk Rijks, many commercial stories lack conflict and drama, or there is no main character at all. What they speak about, are rational facts that people cannot identify with. And that means the message won’t reach the consumers. Statistics validate your point, but the story is the point.

Just think to yourself: what will I remember more? A report showing you statistics on how an increase of defibrillators in your neighbourhood could potentially save lives, or the story of a man who’s had to stand by as his wife suffered a fatal heart attack, simply because there were no defibrillators close enough?



What runs through all this storytelling, is the big question that we all should ask ourselves at all times: Why? What are you trying to achieve? And simply saying something along the lines of ‘selling my product’ or ‘reaching my budget’ is not enough. Really think about what it is that you’re selling and why you are doing what you’re doing this. When you have that clear, you can start mapping out a story that will spell out this importance to your, and your customer’s, customers.