The Special and Meaningful Gift of Storytelling
OK. Once again. I will start with my annual declaration - I love this time of year.
We all know, of course, in our own myriad of ways, the holidays are special.
For me, a rather peculiar reason that I always look forward to the Christmas season is that this is the time of year when storytelling is taken to a new level.
Around Christmas, everyone is telling stories. And, we love the stories. And, if you think about it, these stories are not only entertaining, but they are also meaningful.
Now. Fess up. During this holiday season, how many times will you experience the classic holiday tales again and again? It's A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story ("You'll shoot your eye out..."), A Charlie Brown Christmas, Elf, Scrooge, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation...and more...and more...stories.
Not to mention, we all have our own personal holiday family stories that are filled with emotion and heart warming memories that we love recounting this time of year.
Somehow, around Christmas, we just can't get enough of these stories.
Here's a little twist - businesses of all types should take note of the increasing power of storytelling to deliver effective messages about their company. Some of America's leading businesses - as you'll see in the example below - are taking full advantage of this story-friendly season to tell their meaningful stories. But, effective storytelling for business is not just for the holidays.
Stories for business? Really?
Here's the deal. We all have developed our own cynical radar these days to keep out only the most significant messages. We don't have time or patience for all the pitches coming our way. It goes without saying - we have all been over-communicated to over the years. These days - we don't believe ads. We don't believe company's proclamations. We use our cynical radar to block these corporate messages out.
But, we all love a good story. We engage with meaningful stories.
Stories are a truly effective way for people to see and feel what your company's values are. And, people do business with people who have the same values that they do.
People do business with people who have the same values that they do.
Want more business? Communicate your values - tell more authentic and meaningful stories.
Want to increase the engagement level of your employees by again reconfirming your company's values? Tell your stories.
Want to attract young talent who are more and more looking to join values-based organizations? Yep, tell your stories.
When working with companies, I always ask the leaders: "Is there a story that epitomizes this place?" (I also ask the same questions to their customers and clients.) Usually, these corporate executives or managing partners are taken aback by this somewhat strange, non-businesslike question. But, they inevitably think of one. Their story is usually impactful, truly authentic to their company, and, in its essence, points to an underlying message of... their company's values.
So what leading businesses are telling effective values-based stories this holiday season?
My personal favorite comes from Apple.
Love it. So well done. And, while telling a story of values, Apple also incorporates an important product selling message - this entire spot was shot on their iPhone 13 Pro phone. Pretty impressive.
The values that this Apple 2021 holiday ad conveys are totally consistent with Apple's values-based marketing strategy that goes back to some of their original ads in 1986 which introduced their corporate values of delivering products for everybody - "for the rest of us" - no matter how different or strange one may be. Apple from the very beginning - and still today - reinforces in their communications that they are a "human-to-human" company, not a cold technology organization.
This holiday ad supports the Apple corporate values of developing meaningful relationships with people. To do that, as the spot indicates, we need to get outside ourselves and truly understand, respect and care about what others care about. That's how deeper relationships are made. Apple believes in relationships and caring for individuals.
Enjoy and share your meaningful stories this holiday season, and beyond.
Merry Christmas to all my special Fred Moore or Less readers.