Story-Telling & Branding: Two Peas In A Pod

My primary school was old-fashioned and somewhat off-beat to say the least. It was housed in a huge Edwardian building with an intimidating front, stone pillars guarding the huge wooden doors and an impressive, oak panelled hallway. The hallway seemed massive at that age, and it featured a beautiful sweeping wooden staircase leading to all sorts of daunting classrooms and the much-revered staffroom. With an all-female staff, the girls stayed in and sewed on a Monday afternoon while the boys got an extra sports lesson. There were very strict rules on conduct and if you misbehaved, you had to go and stand by a taxidermied badger in a glass cage in said hallway as a punishment.
Seriously. They used to make the “naughty” children stand and stare at a dead, stuffed badger with glass eyes. It had been positioned to look as though it were alive and roaming through its natural habitat. There were bits of fern dotted around it’s immortalising display. Being a daydreamer and unstoppably inquisitive, I only ever wanted to read, write and ask questions. I was an avid talker. I loved talking to adults. So as you can imagine at a school like mine, I spent quite a bit of time with the poor old badger. This was fine by me - it just gave me more time to daydream and mull over the things I’d been reading about. My favourite question always remained, “why?”
While grown-ups have a habit of finding this question annoying and telling children to stop asking so many questions, when they do answer, they tend to do so in the form of a story. Stories, metaphor and animation are classic adult manoeuvres to explain unfamiliar concepts to children in a way that they understand and can relate to, without actually going into technical detail that could result in confusion and yet more questions. The boy who cried wolf, the owl and the pussycat, the birds and the bees. Whether designed to teach, induce a reaction or minimise embarrassment, storytelling always has a purpose and makes explanations fun. So why then, when children do it, is it  discouraged?
Thankfully, self-expression and creativity are now becoming to be considered as important as our literacy and the last I heard, the badger has a new home at the back of a large cupboard in an unknown location on school property. But isn't it amazing how this is only just coming about, when you think that communication, education and relationships have always been furthered with language and creativity in the form of storytelling.
Storytelling has been a part of every culture in every geography ever since we were neanderthals. Storytelling, our use of language to convey our thoughts, ideas, events, sounds, experiences, is a way to instil moral values, impart meaning, entertain, educate, challenge and preserve culture. But unfortunately it’s not prevalent in business because they tell us in school that we can’t do it; it’s not our place. They tell us that we’re there to learn from others, and certainly not to create meaning of our own. To try is worthy of punishment. Every day, adults fail to remember that in fact, creating meaning is exactly what they are supposed to do, for that is what makes us human.
Storytelling is so much more than a nicety or a form of entertainment. It's part of who we are and how we understand the world. We are meant to tell stories in order connect with others. It is therefore vital to the strength of our brand and our business, which are extensions of who we are as individuals.
Do you use storytelling to connect with your prospects? If so, how? Do you have any (business-friendly) stories you can share below? 
To hear more about story-telling and your brand, join me at the FBizz workshop on February 25th where I'll be discussing why it's important and how you can do it to further connect with your prospects: 
Visit for more information on storytelling, content writing and business book writing.


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