Has story become a means to deceive and mislead; a manipulation tactic at odds with ethical marketing?
I’ve been drawn into three different conversations in as many days about the ‘end of storytelling’ for business. The arguments made were that all storytellers are ‘liars’, that storytelling is a polished decoy, that it has been ‘ruined’ for business by ‘unconventional’ politicians who don’t even try to conceal the political agenda behind their ‘fake’ stories.
I agreed with every argument – to a point. Here’s why.
I’ve had my own ‘dark night of the soul’ since leaving academia to work as a storytelling consultant for business. I’d spent my final years in academia researching the relationship between storytelling and trauma and knew I’d have to ‘shift gear’ for the business world.
Nothing could have prepared me for the way the market had emptied storytelling of its primary purpose in service to profit. Instead of creating meaning in a world gone awry & helping us understand each other better, story is used as emotional bait, a sophisticated selling tactic, peddled by endless books, articles & cheat-sheets that told us ‘Story Sells’, ‘Tell to Sell’, etc.
Story had become the Trojan Horse of marketing.
Just like in the original Greek myth, story is used as a ploy to win a war, in our case, to breach our defences against the onslaught of selling. Story is the poisonous apple that lured Snow White with its shiny red skin to dismiss the danger. Story is the puppet cleverly manipulated by the invisible hands of the puppeteer.
So, why do I do what I do?
The uncertainty and trauma caused by ‘corona’ has given us the perfect opportunity to restart, realign & reimagine. We’re witnessing first hand how human relationship is an invaluable tool to create a different model of ‘normal’.
If story has become a manipulative tactic, then simple, honest storytelling has a huge role to play in helping us build our business around trust, credibility & community as we search for a sustainable way out of the current crisis.
My on-going mission to revive authentic storytelling as an integral part of meaningful, honest business communication is gaining in relevance. My work is to help you and other businesses become part of this revival.Learn More
How can you protect yourself from working with not-so-ideal-clients, i.e. the ones who drain your energies and then tell you that they can’t afford you, cancel at the last minute, delay payment, constantly turn up late for appointments, etc. etc.?
The answer is simple: find your ideal clients, i.e. clients who value your work. And to do that you have to first of all know your worth & embody it in the work you do.
Here’s a few clarifying questions to make it easy for clients who value your work to find you
– Do I always do my best?
– Do I turn up prepared and on time?
– Am I always 100% honest, i.e. tell some people that they’d be better served with someone else?
– Do I only promise outcomes I know I can deliver?
When you walk your talk, you are actually teaching people how to treat you. The moment you’re prepared to work with clients who under-value your expertise & your time, you’re telling them: “I’m willing to put up with this”, or as Ted Hargrave puts it: “We encourage what we endure.”
Here’s what living your worth looks like:
You’ll lose clients who waste your time, but create space for your ideal clients, i.e. those who already see your worth, are happy to pay your prices, inspire you to do great work and generally make your life more fulfilling and enjoyable.
And do you know how to position yourself to be easily found by clients who value you and your work?
You tell them a story that shows them know who they are, that you care about them, that you can help them and that you see their worth.
And if you need help crafting that story to find your ideal clients, let’s talk!Learn More