Telling stories is one of the most powerful means that leaders and organizations have, to influence, teach, and inspire. Stories can be used to sprinkle some magic on businesses, corporate cultures, services, and products. It is advisable to write and tell stories to stand out in the market, engage people, and make an impression. In the business world stories help solidify relationships in a way that factual statements encapsulated in bullet points or numbers don’t.
Storytelling also helps with learning because stories are more engaging than a dry recitation of data points or a discussion of abstract ideas. The subject is easier to adopt if it is linked to one’s work with an identifiable case-example. Good stories can contain multiple meanings so they’re surprisingly economical in conveying complex ideas in graspable ways so that they are easier to understand, remember, and apply. Stories are unforgettable, and things learned through stories are easier to bring back to the active memory from the recesses of your mind. Another storytelling aspect that makes it so effective is that it works for all types of learners.
Every business tells a story. It’s important to make sure your company is telling the right one. A strategy tells a story of why the company exists and what its purpose is. The entire strategy process can be storified, if the business so desires. The visions of the business are based on well-told stories about the company’s development prospects in the next five or ten years. In turn, the mission tells a story of why the company exists. A beautifully written and narrated story is both entertaining and interesting. Strategy stories create a sense of belonging for employees and help to form a common outlook.
What about the brand of the business? It is pure storytelling! Storytelling is a critical component in the building of the brand, as a good story encapsulates and addresses consumers. Each of us remembers a good brand story, right?
The story of the Halloween pumpkin
Have you ever heard the story of the Halloween pumpkin?
A hollowed, grinning pumpkin with a candle shining inside is a symbol of Halloween that is increasingly seen also at the doorways of Finnish homes during All Saint’s Day. Around the world, the pumpkin is called Jack O’ Lantern. The story of the pumpkin lantern is quite a grim one and tells about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack”. Jack tricked the Devil and made a pact with him with the promise that his soul would not end up in hell after his death. As you might guess, Jack’s soul never made it to heaven either. The devil kept his word not to claim his soul, but instead he sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack had taken a turnip as a snack in the afterlife. He put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with it ever since. To frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits, people began to make their versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors. Over the time the turnip turned into a pumpkin, which symbolizes Jack still trying to find his place and peace for his soul.