Anyone who knows me well has probably heard me say this, more than once: “If you don’t tell your story, someone else will. And, when someone else tells your story, it certainly won’t be the story you want told.” More times than not, when others bring your story to the surface, it’s not told the right way. Information might be missing, or inaccurate. The most important points might be left out. You lose control, per say. Don’t want that to happen? Step up and tell the story in your own words, first. Only you have the ability to get people to think, feel and act differently – with you as the storytelling guide.
During the past decade, Fallston Group has helped our clients tell stories of all sizes, scopes and depths. Stories are powerful. Some are told proactively; others are told reactively. They can spark emotion. They can educate. They can inspire and motivate. They define who you are, what your purpose is, and the benefits you offer to others, from both inside and outside perspectives. Simply put, they are worth telling, every day.
Without a doubt, COVID-19 has presented plenty of new challenges, for just about every person I know. But along with obstacles, the crisis has presented opportunities for business owners to tell new stories, or everyday-kind-of-stories, in a different-kind-of way. Here are some favorite examples I’ve come across recently:
- Uber Eats waived their delivery fees, making it more affordable for people to utilize their services. The story demonstrates how this company made adjustments to meet the needs of its customers and attract new ones, too.
- Distilleries started using their supplies to make and sell hand sanitizer rather than spirits. The story demonstrates how these companies embraced creativity, and launched a new product to “stay alive” during the crisis while also meeting market demands.
- Dunkin Donuts offered free donuts on Fridays throughout the month of April for their DD Perks members. The story showcased a nice gesture for Dunkin’s repeat customers while also subtly encouraging others in the community to join their loyalty program.
- The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden has been offering daily Facebook LIVE events for weeks on end. Their story focuses on how they are giving people a chance to see what their animals are up to at a time when the Zoo is closed, while also offering valuable educational opportunities for thousands of kids across the country who are being homeschooled. Grateful families have responded to this story by participating the Zoo’s fundraising efforts to support upkeep of facilities and ongoing care for the animals who live there.
- Zappos.com, known for its superior approach to customer service, has positioned itself as a resource for answers on literally anything people need help with during this pandemic. You can contact them to ask for guidance on things like who in your area is offering online grocery services, or what is new on Netflix. The story here is that Zappos cares about its customers, even at times when sales are not the priority.
- Nursing homes have identified ways to keep their residents active and engaged, while still maintain social distancing. They’ve implemented their own version of “Hungry Hippos” using broom sticks, laundry baskets, and dozens of plastic balls. The real message here is these vulnerable facilities are thinking creatively to create fun opportunities for their residents, which has been especially important at a time when visitors have not been permitted to come in. It’s a feel-good story, that also demonstrates a clear level of care and compassion that is sought after in this industry.
As the world slowly but surely begins to re-open, consider how these examples can inspire new story sharing opportunities for YOUR business. How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your business and what unique adjustments have you been? How has your team shown courage and resiliency? How have you given back to your customers or your community, or how will you in the future? What valuable lessons have you learned, and how will you apply that knowledge to your business model, as you move forward? The storytelling options are literally endless right now, and I encourage you to seize the opportunity.
Need help determining a set of stories your business can create and share in the coming weeks? Reach out to Fallston Group. We’d love to help you think strategically about the messages you can share with your audiences, how to best share them, and what appropriate call-to-actions can be. Telling stories is one of the things I think our firm does best, and we’re here to support you.