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Once upon a time, there was a business that made products and offered services but they didn’t have a great story to tell, or maybe they did but they just didn’t know how to tell it. Either way, I can’t remember their name, or what it was that they sold, can you?

Exactly. Nobody does.

People love a good story and it’s not just because stories are entertaining. We are wired for storytelling. Think about it, literacy is a very recent occurrence for human beings – for most of our existence the majority of people could not and did not read and write. History, learning, religion, one’s family background, were passed on from generation to generation through storytelling. Even with the proliferation of literacy, it is stories that many of us choose for our leisure reading. When was the last time you picked up a textbook for reading enjoyment during downtime? Well, there is always that one person, and if that’s you, please stop reading as there will not be a test at the end of this blog.

The short story about stories is that they sell.

Stories help forge an emotional connection and they intrigue people and pique their interest to learn more. This is true in our personal lives and in our businesses too!

There is a catch, however. If you want to tell the story of your business and even YOUR story, it can’t just be any story. It must be authentic and relatable. It doesn’t matter if you are selling backend software to a stogy IT purchasing guy or a sparkly diamond engagement ring to a nervous millennial who has been saving his “3 months salary”. If you can build that connection, you will build the foundation for a relationship. And THAT’S what makes people pull the purchase trigger.

I recently came across a great article in Forbes about the importance of storytelling to customer experience.

I’m not ashamed to admit that as I was reading I was letting out the occasional, “Yes!” and “That’s what I’m saying!” and “PREACH!”

Here’s the thing. You can’t just read a script, fake or facilitate a story for your customers. As a business you need to help your employees mold the experience of their customers. If you are customer facing, it is your job to build a relationship with your client, and to do that you need to get real, be authentic, and tell stories that evoke  emotion. If that’s not your thing, I mean if you don’t like doing that, if it really makes you uncomfortable at your core, you are in the wrong role.  Not every interaction with your customers is about creating drama.  There are times where transactions are necessary and expected but the thread that transforms the mundane into meaningful is the emotional connection your business, and you as an individual, create through the stories you tell. Throughout history, storytellers have played an important role in connecting people to new ideas, messages, current events and more. What’s your role as the next generation of storyteller in connecting customers to the unique story of your business?

In the article, the author says, “…when a company limits its understanding of the customer experience to a list of customer touchpoints, a list mostly made up of these dull, or, more to the point, meaningless moments, it’s missing the underlying story, myth, legend of your company, as experienced by your customer.”

Can I get an amen?!?!??!?!

It’s almost as if you are co-authoring your story with your customers. Sure you can give them stunning marketing visuals to appeal to their emotions, build characters for them to relate to, be accessible to them in a way that makes them feel important and invested, but they too are going to walk away from every interaction with a perception of the customer experience. So the more you are in tune with them, their needs, how they perceive you and what they want more/less of, the more likely your stories will gel and create a bestseller.

Don’t ever underestimate the power of the story – the one you put out there and the one your customer tells. It shapes your customer experience probably more than anything else you can do.

May 9, 2016


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