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Why Storytelling has the Power to Elevate your Business

The weather forecast is showing ongoing flurries for small business in Canada. Many changes over the past year, including the implementation of carbon tax, wage increases and now tax reforms get a business owner thinking about their risks vs. benefits.

That is why it is more important than ever to be telling your business story.

There is a time and place for search engine optimized web copy, newsletter announcements, catchy advertising and sharing a practiced sales pitch with your B2B or B2C audiences. But when was the last time you took a minute to think about what your clients would do without you?

Javier Boix is Senior Director of Corporate Communications at Abbvie. Abbvie is the creator of the drug, Humira, used to treat symptoms of auto-immune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and psoriasis. In 2015, Boix expanded the company’s content strategy to include StoryLab—a storytelling platform for the company. He believes telling compelling stories is at the heart of what they do. “We do not develop content for the sake of developing content,” he says. “We have a very robust strategy.” That strategy includes using story to increase reputation, positive brand sentiment, and valuation of the company.

Before you begin,

All storytelling begins with multiple steps of research.

1. The first step is laid out by Boix. He says, “[The writer] Bring[s] to life all the research and insights in a compelling story pitch and presents it to the team. Part of that discussion is deciding who the audience is, in terms of personas. Who do we envision is going to read this story and feel compelled to share it?” Consider more than your usual target audience. We often limit our business reach, talking to one or two target audiences only in our marketing content. But there are often valuable audiences left out.

2. The second step of research is deciding how the story will serve the company’s strategic priorities, as well as deciding how it should align with social media and trending topics to ensure the content is relevant.

3. Deciding where the content will come from is the third step of research. Is one of your departments working on a new project? Is your company going through a particular milestone, or creating a new product?

4., 5. Next steps are write the story and decide how it will be distributed. Abbvie’s StoryLab relies on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube, both paid and organic. Instagram is also a great medium if you want to tell your story in photos and minimal text. 

6. Measure success. You can’t engage (or invest) in a project like this without thinking about ROI. Like most other marketing, it is becoming more measurable by likes, shares, page views, etc.

What is your outcome? What do you want to get out of your story being out in the world?

Do you want to change minds, emotionally engage a group, influence people, inform, add value to a conversation, share expertise. Storytelling is capable of elevating a business and showing competency. And we have more opportunity today than ever to share those stories, take the risk out of investing, despite the flurries.

The reason storytelling is going to be a business strategy imperative? Forbes says is best:

“In today’s age of brand experience, it seems that emotional engagement is proving to be more and more critical to achieving winning results and effective storytelling is at the heart this movement.”

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