Storytelling as a Marketing Device

“Tell me a story.”  Children want their storytellers to be colorful, descriptive in the details – helping to paint a realistic image in their imaginative minds. Part of good PR is to wake the inner child in you and think about what you are really saying about your company.

So, what is your story. All too often I run across business owners who box themselves into the typical storyline: I run a business on the corner of x and x and we sell unique products or services that are just so special. Please write a story about us. But, that is rarely the story.

Ever wonder why your competitor across town gets more news coverage than you?  It is probably what they are sharing and how they are presenting it.

Your story and your PR opportunities are most likely more abundant than you think. Going beyond the grand openings, new products, employee hirings, etc. and.there is a story to be told. To really understand what I am talking about, it’s best if I provide you with a story.

A client opened an Italian restaurant in a small strip mall in Suburbia, USA.  My goal was to generate buzz and, of course, drive more customers to their business. Yes, it is a great restaurant and one that is desperately needed in the area full of gas stations and fast food joints. But, here is the REAL story…or rather the types of things the media liked to hear and picked up on…resulting in an Editor’s Dessert Pick for a major monthly glossy BEFORE the restaurant even opened its doors:

  • The owners of the restaurant come from a huge Italian family and, in fact have five children of their own. Everyone is involved in the running of the restaurant – all of the dishes are named after family members.
  • The family patriarch is a world class athlete and Olympian.
  • One co-owner is a seasoned choreographer and was involved in the choreography of a movie that happened to be releasing the same time the restaurant was opening.
  • The other co-owner had been a waiter and manager at several high-end Italian restaurants before he pursued his dream of opening his own place.
  • The owners hired a chef consultant who had been a chef on a leading Food Network program.
  • And the list goes on…

The point is, it is important to take inventory of the histories, passions, goals, and interests of all persons involved in your business. You may not be an Olympian or a choreographer, but you may be a community philanthropist, author, or animal-lover. Whatever it is, find your angle and promote it – even if it doesn’t directly relate to your business. Chances are when they do a story on you and your volunteer work at the homeless shelter, they will mention you business affiliation.