What is Story anyway?
  • Woody Harrison

What is Story anyway?




First and foremost, this is a question that will never truly be answered. But here's my take. Let's start with this.

I'm tired of marketing bullshit. So is everyone else.


Especially in the B2B space.

The same tired lingo has been used for a long time. Hubspot agrees.


https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/cliche-marketing-taglines








That's where story comes in. We all, more or less, understand on some level what story is. We know it's

  • Powerful

  • Old

  • Personal

But understanding what story is and what it isn't is critical to telling a good one. When was the last time a co-worker told you about an experience at diner and nothing really happened? You're there, waiting for the punchline, or when they found a finger in their burger, or when the waiter set the place on fire making Bananas Foster... Something! But instead, you get nothing. No payoff.

That's not a story. Or, not a very good one. Here's why:

There's no conflict.


For a story to be good, you must have conflict, of some kind.

For example:

The Queen died, then the King died.

That's not a very good story.

The Queen died, then the King died...of a broken heart.

That's a story!

Did you feel the difference? Aren't they the same elements, the same plot points?

Well, yes. But there's one fundamental difference.

The Why.

The second example gave us a Why the King died. This gives us conflict and additional depth to the King's character. He cared so much about his wife, that he couldn't live without her.

Isn't that more interesting? Yes. It is.


So, this brings us back to B2B marketing. Remember, the entire world is tired of marketing bullshit lingo.

We established that beyond a shadow of a doubt.


There's a simple way to look for conflict in your story. Regardless of what your business or product is.


Look for the Why. Why do people need your product? That defines their conflict.

Where there's conflict, there's a story. To find that, talk to your customers who are already using it. Does this sound too simple? Maybe. But you'd be surprised how many experienced business people don't ask their customers "Why did you buy our product?"


This is what makes a customer testimonial so much more interesting than just a standard good review. A well made testimonial story will focus on the conflict, the Why behind the buy. When you do that, you make a more emotional connection with other potential customers.

Remember: people buy emotionally and justify rationally, in that order.


In a business world, one way to define Story is: Making a product or service more interesting by adding a person with a conflict that needs to be solved.


How do you define story?




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