Get Used to It: Your Customers Want Stories

Earlier this month I was in Cleveland for Content Marketing World, where the theme was “The World of Stories.” Who doesn’t love a good story? At our core, humans are storytellers, and we are receptive to them.

Joseph Gordon Levitt and Joe Pulizzi at Content Marketing World disucssing storiesThat is … unless you’re marketing to the robots who might eventually become our overlords if Amazon doesn’t beat them to it.

Earlier this month I was in Cleveland for Content Marketing World, the very place that gave me the swift kick in the pants to launch this blog (and then later “What Were They Thinking?”).

The theme was “The World of Stories,” which sure, sounds quaint. Who doesn’t love a good story? Most of us were raised on them: the bedtime story, the stories our grandparents told us about our families, crazy stories about parties gone awry in college, bad date stories, weird work stories … we love them all (or maybe that’s just me).

At our core, humans are storytellers, and we are receptive to them. Story is the universal language … and remember, you don’t need words to tell a good story.

So this past week I heard about (and in some cases, saw), the stories GE produces. Learned about Death Wish Coffee’s brand story thanks to Jay Acunzo. Skyword’s founder and CEO Tom Gerace shared with us a story about Indian detergent-maker Ariel, and how it convinced husbands and fathers to #sharetheload.

I was blown away by the stories Casey Neistat creates using video and his wild imagination. Coca-Cola shared how their customers create stories around their brand (and fun ones at that!) Colson Whitehead — an amazing writer — shared his story of becoming who he is now, weaving together well-placed jokes, anecdotes and simple truths about what it’s like to really be a writer.

Scott Stratten shared the story of how he took down a Canadian telecom who was posting BS reviews of its app (all while not wearing pants — what a life!). And Hollywood actor, director and maybe the most adorable guy (aside from my boyfriend Johnny) Joseph Gordon Levitt shared how he created the HitRecord at a time when he couldn’t get hired, and how it has blossomed as a diverse community of artistic collaborators.

Yes, these were keynotes and sessions … but they were all stories. Stories inspiring the content creators in Cleveland to head home and tell more stories. To build connections. To entertain. To inform. To help their customers become even more successful at what they do.

At our core, we are all storytellers, from the Fortune 500 CEO to the copywriter, from the small business owner to the SEO strategist.

What’s YOUR story?