Today when it’s easier than ever to reach your exact target audience, digital media gets more crowded every day. The brands that are winning at marketing are no longer necessarily the ones with the biggest coffers. They’re the businesses telling the most authentic, compelling story about what they do. They’re telling stories that stick.
If you consistently offer a clear, concise and memorable message about your product or service, you’ll stand out in a crowded online marketplace where everyone else is also screaming for attention.
A brief story
A story from one of my healthcare clients illustrates the power of a good story. A dietary employee of a residential facility struck up a conversation with a WWII veteran and found out that he had never received the service medal he had been promised. The employee was passionate about veteran’s affairs and reached out to the local Department of Veteran Affairs. A few weeks later, this WWII Navy hero got the recognition he deserved in a ceremony that included veterans riding in on motorcycles and several local news media.
The miracle here wasn’t that he got his medal after 73 years. It’s that the story made it into the company’s digital marketing. Why? Because stories are happening every day in healthcare businesses, but most of them are never told.
Create a storytelling culture
It might sound like a conundrum, but key to getting your business stories told is telling stories. At my healthcare client, we had been telling stories about patients and employees for six months before the dietary employee submitted her own story. And because she did, we were able to send out a press release before the medal ceremony. She felt empowered to submit a story because she had seen that she works for a company that values these individual stories.
The company stories do more than just stand out in customers’ minds. They make employees feel proud of the place they work and empowered to make a difference. Working in a healthcare cafeteria no longer means just serving or cleaning. It means providing healthy food to help people heal in order to improve their lives. The people who pass through the kitchen become actual people–with real stories and an opportunity for connection.
How do you start collecting stories? Ask for them. Many businesses, in all industries, instruct their managers to begin every shift asking the group for stories employees would like to share.
Think you don’t have time for that or it sounds corny? Ritz-Carlton co-founder Horst Schulze doesn’t. He instructed the teams to spend 10 minutes a day collecting stories that reflect company values. The result was that reading and sharing the stories inspired other employees to create their own.
Questions you can use to collect stories
You can email your team periodically and ask them for stories about customer satisfaction, exceptional service. Try asking your team the following questions:
- Was there a time this week you were especially proud to work here?
- Did anything happen that you felt made a big impact in a client’s life?
- Did a client or a colleague give you any useful feedback this week?
- If you could recognize one colleague for exceptional service, who would it be and why?
The stories you gather simply by asking for them will build your reputation and create a culture where your employees are proud to work.
📧 Want to gather stories but don’t have the time? That’s what we do. Let’s talk!