business storytelling

How to Use Business Storytelling to Improve Your Marketing

In Fashion Features, Marketing & Social Media, Mingle Mastermind by Katharine Shuman

Business storytelling plays a significant role in shaping a brand’s identity. Jessica Mastors, founder of Story Magic and an expert at business storytelling, shares her insights during a Mingle Mastermind session on how to write your business story and use it as a marketing asset.

Strategies for Effective Business Storytelling

5 Things You Will Learn:

  1. What is the purpose of a story?
  2. How to choose which type of story to use in different business situations.
  3. Language tips for engaging your audience.
  4. What should you focus on when telling a business story?
  5. How curiosity is important for your marketing and storytelling.

Jessica recalls how she personally learned the value of storytelling when discussing her career path with her boss. He had his own understanding of what she should do with her life and career, only to walk out of her office inspired and supportive — and all she had to do was tell him a story. Fashion Mingle CEO Melissa Shea knows that storytelling communicates what brands are about, but Jessica views the story even more broadly, as a foundational human practice with the ability to bring people together. 

Jessica explains how a story is a way of turning information into a future directive, where the ending of the story is the essence of what you need to communicate. Jessica highlights three different story categories every business needs: the Inception Story, the Impact Story, and the Value Story

Branding and product development expert Randi Seiff notes how business storytelling is an essential communication strategy that extends across a company’s messaging, positioning, and overall branding, something that she has witnessed in her work for Randi Seiff Designs. By showcasing history and values, these stories spark the audience’s imagination and allow them to envision a brand’s potential. 

Jessica emphasizes how great business storytelling is a co-creative act, involving a two-way conversation with the audience’s imagination. Each person wants to participate and feel invited, which means specific language can make a big difference; Catherine Schuller, founder of Runway the Real Way and an advocate for inclusivity and sustainability in the fashion world, reinforces how the core of good storytelling is bringing a certain curiosity to clients in an effort to capture their interest. This curiosity also ensures that the give-and-take of business storytelling is set up from the start. 

In a live Mastermind exercise, Jessica asked Houston fashion stylist Kim Moh to share an Impact Story for her business. She recalls a customer she worked with through her wardrobe styling business MohStylz. Kim explains how she helped this client learn how to dress her new body after she had lost weight. Kim was able to teach her how to choose the right clothing that would emphasize her new figure for personal and professional situations, and the client learned that she could take the information that Kim gave her and style herself with confidence. The satisfaction of seeing this growth is what inspires Kim to continue her work, an experience that echoes advice Jessica received early in her career to stop investing in the product and start investing in the person. 

Jessica also notes how there is a difference between business storytelling and an elevator pitch, since a story centers around something that happened while an elevator pitch explains who you are and what you do. In these instances, it becomes important to illuminate rather than explain, because this signals to the audience that their imagination is being acknowledged. 

It’s important that your stories are authentic, says Dee Rivera, founder and CEO of DCG Media Group and Public Relations Consultant. Dee emphasized how brands need to think outside the box to have a bigger impact and to tell their authentic story, as people easily differentiate between authentic efforts and a copycat. 

By engendering a sense of connection to something bigger than yourself, Jessica sees the ability to articulate your story as a huge source of power. In today’s fast-paced world, having business storytelling skills will position fashion brands for success with customers or when pitching their next investor opportunity. 

To stay up to date on the latest tips and tricks for perfecting your fashion business marketing skills, sign up for a free Fashion Mingle profile.

About Katharine Shuman

Katharine is a second semester junior at Kenyon College who is majoring in English and Studio Art, and finds connections to the fashion industry through her jewelry, photography, and quest to uncover sustainable methods of pursuing this expressive art form. Her passion for using her work to better our world as a whole manifests itself in her small business, KJ Creations, where 25% of all proceeds are donated directly to the Surfrider Foundation.

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