Do you like to hear stories? Sometimes they’re funny, sad, informative, or whimsical. The storyteller may be a parent, child, TV show, radio program, or podcast. It may be a book or stage play. In essence, though, storytelling happens every day—all day—and most people love to learn and understand.

Over the past eight months I have been trying to drill into several clients the need to shift from “data” to “stories.” Don’t get me wrong—data is critical. It will tell you who to talk to and why they should partner with you. Closing deals often requires empirical data (how many people you reach, details on the targeted audience, etc.), but I am trying to explain to these clients that getting to the close requires storytelling.

This means we need to stop inundating our prospects with information about us. We need to tell them stories of success. We need to explain how different partners have achieved goals. I love to tell the story how one community recreation centre keeps telling us and others how it was the empirical data that was used to determine the naming rights valuation that sold the naming right to their building. He speaks about the process that was used to determine the naming right value and how it was not just a pie-in-the-sky number that allowed the brand to have faith in the investment. But it was the story of how the value that was determined that got him to the point that he could use that data to close the deal. Without the story, he could not have presented the data itself effectively.

Another client talks about the how they were able to assist a partner with lead generation to boost their sales targets. Still another talks to prospects about how their productivity in staff has increased dramatically since they made a sponsorship investment with a specific charity. In each of these cases, the property does not start with how many patrons they have, or their ages and incomes. They talk and tell stories about what matters—results.

To gain success, I encourage you to stop reciting data and start telling stories. Start sharing outcomes and experiences versus pushing out numbers. Our industry is one of relationships and trust. Trust and relationships are not built on transactional data. They are built on understanding and relationships that come from storytelling.

Please remember to stay HIMPS! (Healthy, Isolate when possible, Masked, Physically distanced and Safe!).

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  1. As usual, your comments are so ‘right on’. People remember stories and examples, not numbers. Perhaps your message should be delivered to the people who report the Covid numbers. After a year, they have become a ‘hummmm” to me.

    • Big Mac… lol… if only we could get the COVID number reciters to shift to story telling because there are tons of stories that would make those stats more applicable. Probably “too much work for them”!

      Stay well my friend.

  2. Hi Brent, completely agree with you on this matter. Engaging consumers or prospects is always about storytelling. We hear ‘content is king’ but telling suitable brand stories enables that content to resonate. My belief is storytelling is the optimal way to engage consumers and gain their attention for a brand.

    • Jim, thanks for this. The way you did the consumer journey story for Scotiabank SA and Caribbean is such a great example. It is one thing to show statistical results… it is so much more impactful hen the story of the journey is told. You sir are and always have been a leader at this!!

      Hope you and the whole family are staying safe and healthy.


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