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3 Ways That Storytelling Is A Startups Secret Weapon

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3 Ways Storytelling Is A Startups Secret Weapon

Storytelling is a tool that small companies can use against their bigger, deeper pocketed competitors.

Small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs can tell powerful stories that drive recall, emotion, and character that can lead to awareness and ultimately sales.  

Since the beginning of time, stories have been told, yet only recently is storytelling making a comeback.

Here are 3 ways that stories can help you:

 

1. Stories provide a framework to remember

Throughout civilization, stories were used to pass on culture, history, and knowledge from one generation to the next.  With few tools to record their stories, humans have mastered the art of storytelling and our brains have adapted to accommodate story’s format.

Today stories can be used for the narrative effects, which enable and jog people’s memories.  For example, in the memory memoir, Moonwalking with Einstein, memory experts can create a specific story enabling them to recall hundreds, even thousands, of playing cards in order, simply by mapping story elements to individual suits and values.

Even “normal” people will never forget the candy that E.T. the extra terrestrial, followed out of the woods, as being Reese’s Pieces.  Technology has allowed us to forget certain brand names, but with enough story elements, Google or Siri will be sure to connect the last mile for you.

In today’s world of on demand wants and desires, being able to communicate these elements is essential to your customers being able to know what to search for and how to connect.

“If you wish to influence an individual or a group to embrace a particular value in their daily lives, tell them a compelling story.” –Annette Simmons

2. Stories can be emotional and irrational

While data has always been important to advertising analytics, humans are much better at analyzing and evaluating stories than numbers. To illustrate, consider a study where students were told that they were suffering from terminal illness.

They were offered either the control drug, which is 50% effective, or one of four drugs effective 90%, 70%, 50%, and 30%. They were told one of three stories, positive (person took drug and was cured), neutral (person took drug and nothing happened), or negative (person took drug and got worse).

The results:

 

90%70%50%30%
Positive88%92%93%78%
Neutral81%81%69%29%
Negative39%43%15%7%

 

The effect of the stories played a greater role than the actual data. Even though the 90% drug is more effective than the control drug, respondents chose the control drug when coupled with the negative story. Likewise, the 30% effective drug is chosen much more when coupled with the positive story.

The detail and humanization of the story had caused irrational behavior, which might work to your advantage when competing against a larger, better capitalized, or resource filled company.

Similarly, our aversion to numbers can be seen by how we understand the underlying mathematics and translate the numbers into actual outcomes.  The lottery, for example, provides a microscopic chance to win a large payout.  Buying a ticket barely moves the mathematical odds in your favor, but changes your story from no chance to a “one in a billion shot.”

On the other hand, some court cases with near obvious outcomes are sometimes settled out of court. Even if the chance of winning or receiving a payout is 99.99%. Settling out of court turns your payout into a “sure thing.” While a chance and a sure thing are easy to rationalize, it is hard to put a value on increasing your chances from 50% to 60%.

Numbers are much harder to translate into emotions, which sometimes drives decision-making.

“If you’re going to have a story, have a big story, or none at all.” –Joseph Campbell

3. Stories allow brands to convey their values and change perspectives

Consumers are starting to value a brand’s story more and more: what does this brand stand for and what is important to them? Traditional advertising makes it difficult to convey these various angles, while stories can provide color and insight into the character of a company.

Story provides the “why” whereas traditional advertising is the “what.” The social responsibility stories of fashion accessories Warby Parker and Tom’s Shoes have made them mainstream. The human interest stories in Charity Water and Smile Train have brought them more awareness and new donors. The magical stories of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerburg, told through Hollywood’s lens, have catapulted them to legends.

The lens through which a story is told also affects the perspective desired.  Stories like Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon and William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying” demonstrate that the storyteller has much power in persuading what the viewers believe.

By telling your personal vulnerable story, you humanize your company and gain fans that want to see you succeed.

Storytelling
 


Stories are an amazing tool that any size company can use.They can help you remember, make things easier to understand, inspire you, and humanize your brand.

The amazing thing about stories is that money, size, resources, and stature are independent of the quality of the story and thus, it is truly David’s slingshot against Goliath.

Roger Wu is the co-founder of sponsored content marketplace, Cooperatize, where influential publishers write about your brand. He’s written a number of stories for Forbes, Quartz, and Mediapost and is on Twitter and Medium at @rogerwu99.  You can find more stories about content at @cooperatize.

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5 Women Who Revolutionized Tech and Made Millions

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While starting your own business is an exhilarating experience, many start-up founders struggle with successful marketing more than any other area of business. So if you’re thinking about starting a business, here are some of the key things you need to know about marketing before you take the plunge. (more…)

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5 Hacks to Improve Your Writing Skills in English for ESL Learners

Phil Collins

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Studying in college is hard for everyone, but ESL learners arguably suffer the most. Moving to a foreign country, learning a new language, and keeping pace with the rest of the class may seem like an unbearable burden. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, but you have to pull through and not give up. 

In moments like this, it’s always a good idea to seek help. Whether you go to WriteMyPaper to order an essay or just talk to a friend, admitting vulnerability is an important step towards improvement. In this article, you will find some tips on how to get better at essay writing, even if English is not your native language.

 

Control Your Environment

Improving your language skills is all about constant practice. Living in an English-speaking community is the first thing you should do to start your practice. It might be tempting to surround yourself with people who already speak a familiar language. However, this way, you won’t be practicing English on a daily basis.

You need to make those lessons almost intuitive in a way that you don’t have to do anything to learn the language. If you live in an English-speaking community, for example, if your roommate speaks English, you will have to practice the language, whether you want it or not.

Still, make sure you don’t take it too far. Taking care of yourself is still as important as ever. Feeling like an alien for the sake of education is not worth it. Remember to keep in touch with your friends and family, talk to them as often as necessary.

 

Practice Constantly

Practicing language is not just about doing your homework. You can make practicing English a normal part of your daily routine by watching TV, listening to music, and reading books in this language. 

Yet, this is a bit tricky. When being surrounded by white noise, people tend to learn not to notice it. You need to ensure this doesn’t happen. As you watch movies or read books, maintain your attention on what you’re doing. If you hear or see a word that you don’t understand – translate it and write it down. Be mindful and remember what you’re doing this for.

 

Writing Is The Answer

If you want to specifically learn to write, you need to do one thing, and that is to write. Continuous practice will help you understand what mistakes you often make and, in time, eliminate them. Focus on your goal, and don’t get discouraged when something’s not working. After all, even Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Get a journal and write in it daily. Pick a new topic every time and note everything you can think of. It’s also important that you write by hand, a spelling checker in your computer is tempting, but it will not help you remember how to spell words correctly. 

Besides, journaling as a habit has multiple health benefits, and it can be therapeutic. It can help you get in touch with yourself and process your emotions better.

 

Learn In a Group

It’s proven that learning in a group is more efficient due to the sense of competition. Find a bunch of like-minded people who want to study with you or join an already existing one, like a speaking club.

The benefit of such activities is that you get all these people from entirely different backgrounds who are all good at various things. This will help you exchange experiences, which is impossible if you’re alone.

Schedule regular meetings, come up with topics to discuss and activities to do. You could watch videos or movies together, or talk about common things. Having assignments like describing an event can also be beneficial for the entire group. This way, while one person speaks, the rest think about how they would say the same things differently. 

This will help you feel more confident in your skills and, consequently, speak and write better.

 

Expose Yourself

The most important thing about learning a language is not to be afraid of making mistakes. It’s inevitable; you just have to take it as a natural part of a learning process. 

A child that is learning how to walk doesn’t give up after falling once, and you shouldn’t either. It’s most likely that your friends understand that you’re just learning a language, and they won’t laugh at you for misusing a word or a few. 

Get over that fear of error and make as many mistakes as it will take. Treat it lightly, and don’t beat yourself up for it. On the other hand, try to attend as many events as you can that will expose you to the foreign language. Not only will it boost your English skills, but also improve your social confidence!

 

Wrapping Up

Learning a language is hard; there’s no arguing about that. However, it’s going to get easier with time. Take every hard thing that life throws at you and turn it into a lesson. 

Watch your favorite movies in English, converse with native speakers, and you’ll see the improvement very soon!

Remember to be patient about it. Don’t give up, and don’t beat yourself up over something that you have so little control of. Good luck!

 

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