Businesses Succeed When They Know Their Story
I hope you enjoyed hearing from our team in the last issue of Strictly Business about a few of our goals, both personal and professional, for the new year. While 2018 was surely a year for the books, filled with milestones and exciting new developments in our office, Strictly Business is always looking forward to the future with aspirations of growth. There is no denying that this is the time of the year when a lot of New Year’s resolutions have either been neglected or completely abandoned altogether. It’s why we see gym memberships spike in January, but then steadily decline as the year progresses. It’s an unfortunate trend that I’m sure we can all admit we’ve fallen victim to once or twice, but I’m proud to say that will not be the case for Strictly Business. As a company, our New Year’s resolution is to continue our commitment to our clients and readers by publishing reliable and relevant news every month. It is our pleasure to tell stories and generate new connections within the local business community through these means. The Strictly Business team is dedicated to upholding the integrity of print media, while also capitalizing on our strong online presence, in order to give our clients further promotion. Just because the excitement of the new year has worn off, it doesn’t mean we should lose sight of our goals. Especially for business teams that just devoted time to planning for the year ahead by identifying their main objectives, this time of the year is still an excellent opportunity to continue recognizing things that need to be improved and then take concrete steps to actually improve them.
Just like an individual trying to break a bad habit or develop good character traits, a business can develop habits that are either helpful or harmful. A useful way to look at the importance of a business plan is to think of it like a story. Many people in marketing or business have come to recognize the importance of having a story to tell their customers. Author David Miller became a New York Times bestselling author by writing about the importance of storytelling to brand a business. Miller’s lectures for business owners are infused with his own personal stories of discovering the importance of branding in his own professional experience. Perhaps the key principle, which is common throughout Miller’s lectures and writings, is the importance of emphasizing the customer, not the business, in any business’ brand. Before the customer reaches for their wallet, they first want clarity on what a business can do to help them. A successful brand recognizes this as key to the relationship between a customer and a business.
Brian Solis, a marketing expert and principal analyst at Altimeter Group, has discussed this same storytelling movement in marketing. In an interview with Keith Richey, published on the Marketing Land blog on November 7, Solis argues that many marketers have accepted the importance of using storytelling to establish a brand without understanding why. “As marketers, we’ve bought into the aspiration and the ideal of storytelling-based marketing without going through the exercise of what it actually takes to become a storyteller,” Solis told Richey. In the interview, Solis goes on to discuss these key principles for marketing:
- Know your audience, including their needs and wants.
- Think of your client as the hero of the story, not your business.
- Track the results of your marketing to see whether you are out of touch with your desired customers.
David Pilcher of the FreeportPress has discussed the importance of storytelling for all major college and universities. For prospective students, understanding their future experience on campus is critical to their choice of school. This has made print brochures a key tool for colleges and universities to communicate a story to incoming freshmen. Pilcher interviewed Sandy Hubbard of The Print Media Center on the topic for a post on the FreeportPress blog, published November 27. Hubbard underscored the vital role that print has: “Thousands—and sometimes hundreds of thousands—of dollars are riding on the impressions that these recruiters make. Nobody is spouting off web addresses during these presentations. It’s all print,” she told Pilcher.
The advantage of print brochures in these settings is they economically communicate a personal story to a target audience: A successful brochure helps an incoming first-year student imagine their enriching educational experience at the school. As a tactile object, it captures their full attention and allows them to hold onto the information. Of course, the prospective student choosing a college is much like any customer making a decision that they hope will benefit them.
Like any good story, a New Year’s resolution involves a clear goal, with the potential of success or failure. For customers, any business, product, or service is a tool that they hope will help them accomplish their goals, wants, and needs. A marketer’s goal is to communicate to their audience how they can support the customer in achieving their goals. In other words, completing their story. Print and digital media continue to be the two key strategies to deliver that message to potential customers, which is why Strictly Business pays close attention to reader engagement with our print and digital content. Breaking last year’s records, Strictly Business articles about our clients appeared in Google’s search results over 12.7 million times, and page views on our articles exceeded 366,000 from Google alone. Our goal for this year is to continue to build on this success, and to help our readers identify the best local businesses and services in the Lincoln area.
Let Strictly Business Magazine help you lock in your status as THE EXPERT in your industry, utilizing print, the internet, and social media. Find out how by contacting Paige at (402) 466-3330.