Mastering the Power of Storytelling in Marketing: Effective Pitches in High-Pressure Situations

For those who work in marketing, whether that’s in advertising, a specific company or anywhere else, effective pitches can help your business and/or clients excel and experience more success. Unfortunately, implementing a great pitching strategy is often easier said than done. Thankfully, there are some simple tricks you can use to master storytelling in marketing and reenergize your pitching strategy.

Specifically, storytelling is an incredibly potent tool that anyone can use to make an impact during a pitch. Understanding the ways storytelling can help you make a great impression can make it easier and more accessible to develop and hone your pitching skills. 

READ: Words Matter — Tips for Crafting Public Statements on Social Issues

Good storytelling has the power to captivate an audience

While many people look at stories as childish or inconsequential, the truth is that narrative is a powerful force that has the power to captivate an audience. As humans, we’re hardwired to think in terms of narrative. From how we see ourselves to how we see events, we utilize the structure of narrative constantly to help us make sense of the world. Consequently, the narrative form piques our interest and gets us more invested in what we’re experiencing.

When it comes to marketing and making creative pitches, piquing the audience’s interest is a must. If you’re unable to catch an audience’s attention, it’ll be close to impossible to convince them that your marketing campaign is worthwhile. 

As such, using storytelling to immerse an audience is a powerful way to make sure that you’re is communicating your creative pitch effectively — especially when you find yourself in a high-pressure situation where a client must be persuaded.

Storytelling can create an emotional connection with an audience

Anyone who has been ever worked on, or received a great pitch, understands that emotion can play a key role in persuading an audience that your idea holds merit. Even if two people are pitching the same thing, the one who forms an emotional bond with the audience has a significantly better chance of getting them to agree to a proposition. Storytelling, believe it or not, has the power to help you forge that emotional bond with an audience and communicate more effectively.

Given the power of storytelling in helping people effectively communicate with audiences, those in marketing roles can utilize this tool to help appeal to audiences. This is particularly true in high-pressure situations in which you need an audience to be receptive to your marketing pitch. This being the case, taking advantage of storytelling can be incredibly useful to anyone who works in marketing and needs to communicate their ideas effectively. 

READ: Using Video in Email Marketing Campaigns: Best Practices and Benefits

Fiction makes complicated ideas easier to understand

Though it may not seem obvious, fictional narrative structure actually has the power to make complicated ideas easier to digest and understand. If you’re in marketing, and actively pitching to people outside of the marketing industry, this can be incredibly useful. By taking advantage of storytelling as a tool, marketers can help simplify complex marketing processes and communicate more successfully. 

Essentially, stories help marketers present their ideas in a way that showcases their greatest attributes. As such, storytelling and the narrative form offer marketers a way to communicate to audiences more effectively by making ideas easier to understand. 

Storytelling is an effective marketing tool

While perfecting your ability to present ideas and being prepared is important, utilizing storytelling can be an incredibly powerful and effective tool in swaying audiences. From helping captivate audiences to making convoluted problems easier to understand, narrative structure is an amazing tool for marketers to take advantage of. 

As such, those in marketing who find themselves in high-pressure situations should use storytelling to communicate to audiences more effectively and be more persuasive. 

 

Andrew Deen HeadshotAndrew Deen has been a consultant for startups in a number of industries from retail to medical devices and everything in between. He implements lean methodology and is currently writing a book about scaling up business.

Top Company 2020: Public Relations & Communications

Top Co Bpr Team B 2
B Public Relations

In its 33rd year, ColoradoBiz‘s Top Company honors the Colorado companies that have drive, determination, a vision and a plan and are ultimately making the state a better place to live and work. These two companies – one winner and one finalist –represent the 2020 Top Companies in Public Relations and Communications. 

Winner

B Public Relations

Denver 

B Public Relations’ staff includes three certified sommeliers, one Cicerone, one spirits specialist and one food photographer.

“As a team, we completely immerse ourselves within the industries in which we specialize – hospitality, travel and food and beverage – not only because we’re super passionate about them, but because it gives us a deeper understanding of our clients’ operations, challenges, goals, lingo and more,” says Principal Jordan Blakesley, whose first job at 14 was busing tables at the local Holiday Inn restaurant.

BPR pays for all certifications, just one of many employee perks that include fully paid maternity leave, a retirement match, a month of paid vacation time to start, summer Fridays, flexible hours and work-from-home options. BPR also provides free employee family vacations at clients’ hotels and meals at client restaurants and generous commission on all new clients and revenue streams. Team members are regularly recognized for their contributions with the “Queen B” awards program and bonus.

“We pride ourselves on mutual respect and a positive, supportive culture,” Blakesley says. “We don’t follow a hierarchical structure; we’re all equally ingrained in accounts when it comes to tactical work. This has proven to be effective for us as we foster an environment geared toward celebrating each other and team wins, as well as the success of our clients.”

Team wellness and philanthropy are priorities at BPR, which has committees that oversee charitable initiatives and monthly “Wellness Wednesdays.” In 2019, BPR added a prom dress drive for Bella Boutique, a food drive for Bienvenidos Food Bank and launched a #RaiseUpRestaurants community initiative to encourage consumers to purchase gift cards from restaurants affected by COVID-19.

Finalist

Novitas Communications

Denver 

Novitas Communications specializes in corporate communications, crisis communications and issue management for highly regulated industries and organizations, such as oil and gas, banking, housing, health care, education, insurance and more.

Among Novitas’ innovations: Its PR Protect service, a pre-paid crisis communications program, ensures companies have a crisis plan in place should the need arise.

The company’s work-hard, play-hard culture rewards its team with birthday lunches, cakes and bonuses; happy hours; industry memberships; spot bonuses; and surprise presents, such as home champagne deliveries after a week of hard work, among other perks. Employees also receive an annual $2,000 education stipend.

Employee involvement in the community is a source of pride: Every year, employees put together and host different client events, some of which are catered. The firm also has donated more than $45,000 in cash and pro-bono work for nonprofit organizations across the state.

The less said the better (sometimes)

If you can’t say anything good, keep thy mouth shut.

It’s never worked for me, but many the nun, mother, or pal suggested (a version of) this platitude whenever they sensed I was about to blow a gasket and comment in a way that I’d ultimately regret.

I think we’re all tired of COVID-19 talk, even if it’s hard to tear ourselves away from the news. Almost every company has come along with their “In these times of COVID-19, we are here to help” missives – and they should be. Crisis management as well as communicating with clients and personnel is never more important than when the world seems to be going to hell.

However, are we still reading every branded email that tells us their company’s policy for how they take care of clients and that we are all in this together? I don’t think so. Most of these emails appear to be gratuitous, ill-conceived attempts at keeping their client-base engaged. And that’s OK. The economy does need to come back and it will.

But at some point (that we are long past), we learned which sources and outlets can tell us about COVID-19 testing, protocols and care. Beyond that, it can seem, to the recipient of the clothing or ski equipment email, that reading the most current missive consumes valuable time and energy that could better be spent home-schooling, cooking and holding relationships together; we don’t care.

That’s when it’s time to say nothing. And that time may be now, which is in direct opposite of what public relations normally looks and feels like.

Public relations is communication. It’s about informing and telling a story. It’s about making sure desired audiences know how you’re different, how you behave better than competitors and what you bring to your clients’ tables.

But saturation wears people down. Getting daily “here’s what we’re doing” messages is tiresome. That is unless you’ve tweaked, realigned your business model, are behaving creatively or have something new and helpful to say.

Two examples: a caterer lost $20,000 worth of business in one week in March 2020, when months of scheduled weddings and bat mitzvahs went away. And then there is the hairdresser who can’t come within six feet of his clients any time soon — not because salons haven’t opened (they have, with restrictions) — but because just this week his husband tested positive and their teenage son began exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms over the weekend.

Both entrepreneurs quickly changed tactics and they do have a thing or two to say.

The caterer is now cooking family sized meals six days a week and she’ll deliver those meals —l prepped and ready — to your front door. In doing so, she’s quickly made up for the lost big event business because she communicates like mad — every day on social media.

The hairdresser’s put together “hair-loving” kits with products clients can use until they return to the salon. He texts everyone. He drops product off. People know about it and they feel better. Furthermore, he is now receiving much welcome support and love in a time when he might otherwise be losing his mind.

Both business owners are not only keeping their pre-COVID client base, but they’ve added customers.

That’s what worthwhile communicating looks and feels like in a time like this. It is mindful, it is not vacuous, it offers new information, and company updates that can and will make a difference to clients.

It is not duplicative of whatever corporate-speak COVID-19 email hit the inbox this morning. It is not condescending or simply a repeat of the morning news — distributed to an email address list for fear of not saying anything.

Worthwhile communication is helpful, it is informative, it is authentic and, most important, recipients are happy to get it.