The value of storytelling goes back a long ways. Thousands of years. An unfolding story holds more interest than a mere stating of facts derived from it. In B-to-B marketing we are fond of saying that it allows a prospect to visualize himself or herself as a user of a given technology, imaging how the benefits would apply to their operations.
The irony of the current state is that, while users are more willing than ever to allow their stories to be told in order to foster cooperative ties with their technology suppliers, there are fewer trade publication/website pages available for reporting the stories. The Problem/Solution format has traditionally been in great demand by editors, but they have less band-width to publish them.
How-to books have a finite shelf life. But great business stories are useful, and popular, for much longer. Consider Lee Iacocca’s Autobiography. It out-sold every other non-fiction hardcover for two years straight in the 1980s. Why are we fascinated with all the blow-by-blow details of a business success when we already know what the person or company ultimately accomplished and the impact of its success? Perhaps because some useful “do’s and don’ts” and “forks in the road” will be revealed, but it’s also because we like a good story.
So what’s with the humongous, bodacious burger? Is is lunchtime? (Well, yes, but…) To kick off my little series on business storytelling, I asked a big bunch of colleagues last week to vote for one of three famous business stories. Lee Iacocca is one of them, and the polling is almost complete; it looks like a burger business story wins over the car story; I’ll deliver up the results in the next blog post, tomorrow.