Tell a Story, Not a Narrative

by | Jul 10, 2023

There’s a difference between a Narrative and a Story when it comes to marketing.

A lot of agencies will advise you to tell YOUR story. What they end up doing is helping you with your narrative. 

A Narrative is Chronological

Story guru Robert McKee wrote in his book, Storynomics, “All stories are narratives, but not all narratives are stories. Narratives tend to be flat, band, repetitive, and boring recitations of events.

Example: In 1952, we started our business to help people get jobs. In 1965, we opened two new offices. By 1986, we were the most prominent placement firm in the state. Yay us!

Narratives are often dry historical accounts focused on the business, not the customer.

A Story is Transformative.

According to McKee, a story is “a dynamic escalation of conflict-driven events that cause meaningful change in a character’s life.

Example: Kara is a senior at Indiana University. She really wants to land a great job at a top accounting firm when she graduates, but she has no idea where to start. She’s afraid she’ll end up back home waiting tables at the local Applebee’s. Something she swore she’d never do again.

Last winter, Kara found Acme Placement Services online and, within a few weeks, had interviews lined up with six top accounting firms.

Now, Kara has excellent offers from two of those firms. We expect her to get at least one more. 

Kara couldn’t be more excited to start this next chapter of her life in a career she loves making a starting salary that affords her a great foundation to build from. 

Story helps your customers place themself into your services. Story makes it personal.

You Don’t Even Need to Tell an Actual Story. Just Use Storytelling Elements

Here’s the thing…You don’t even have to tell a complete story. You can just use the elements of storytelling to help someone place themselves into the story you are telling.

Example: Too many college seniors don’t know where they’ll work after they graduate, and it has them stressed beyond belief. At Acme Placement Services, we match college seniors with top companies so they begin post-graduate life with a solid income and a limitless future. 

If you’re a college senior (or the parent of one), just that quick couple of sentences will be enough for you to see yourself (or your child) in that story and want that outcome.

Story Helps Prospect Feel Something

By telling a story or structuring your message using storytelling elements, you help your prospects picture themselves working with you.

You help them FEEL what it’s like to overcome their problem with your help.

Don’t just inform your customers. Help them taste what life could be like after working with you.


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