Storytelling Creates Connection

By: Kelsey Schurer, Director of Stories and Learning in Thought Leadership

Storytelling Connects Businesses to People

A master of storytelling, Genevieve invites you to walk with her into a bookshop. This shop isn’t just any shop—it’s a small independent business that is three times farther away from Genevieve than other bookstores, and she has to pay more than if she were to buy a book online and receive free two-day shipping. But the reason she walks into this bookstore over any other is quite simple: their business is built on authentic connection.

Specifically, she says it’s about connecting with more than just a business but the people behind it. Genevieve knows the owners, has built a relationship with the shop, and says, “While I may not own a bookstore myself, I can relate to the ups and downs the business goes through because I’ve seen the human side of what they’ve built.”

In order for businesses to foster successful connections with their consumers, Genevieve argues, leaders must first recognize the human side of what they’ve built. And to build a successful brand, you must share the heart and the soul of what shapes your business. Authenticity of a business begins at the roots of its personal story.

“Every business started somewhere—with a person who had a great and passionate idea,” Genevieve says. “The more we share about ourselves and the human side of our businesses, the more we open our brands up to the possibility of connecting with customers, peers, stakeholders, and the community more fully.”

Personal Storytelling Creates Connection

In order to foster connections between your business and your customers, it’s important to share a personal story that shows off your human side. Genevieve gives three ways on how storytelling can tap into your authenticity as a business and a brand:

  • Start small. Sharing your personal story doesn’t have to be a big deal. Genevieve encourages you, as a business leader, to make storytelling a part of your routine—start a blog of your business or share photos of your morning coffee or your dog. Allow your customers (your audience) to see the human side in little daily exchanges. “Remind them that the business is a living, breathing organism,” Genevieve says, “built on the shoulders of people like themselves.”
  • Visualize your audience. One of the best things you can do when using business storytelling to elevate authenticity in your brand is to picture your audience sitting across from you as a real person. Imagine grabbing a drink at a coffee shop with your consumer and having a genuine conversation. Genevieve says that when you see someone across from you as you share a personal story, this helps you become more aware of the language and tone of voice you use while sharing, which in turn helps you to cultivate a deeper and gentler sense of trust with yourself and others.
  • Market your brand through storytelling. Storytelling works because when you tell a story, you share an experience, and experiences foster deeper connection with consumers. “Human experience is the common thread that binds us all,” Genevieve says. “By sharing the stories of our struggles, our victories, and our humanity, we can put the focus on people instead of just profit.”

“Authenticity of a business begins at the roots of its personal story.”

Creating Authentic Connection with Business Storytelling

Storytelling in business is not as much about building a successful brand as it is about focusing on the shared human experiences of both leader and consumer. When we really lean into creating connections by showing off authenticity and vulnerability, we receive loyalty and genuine trust in return.

“By sharing personal stories about ourselves, consumers feel seen, heard, and understood,” Genevieve says. “They become loyal to an experience rather than a product.”

Storytelling allows us to shift from a transactional experience in business and into a relational experience strengthened by a deepening sense of authentic connection.

“The connection is no longer about what they bought; it becomes about how they felt.”

How we feel about a business is so much stronger than what we buy from a business. And that’s why Genevieve drives three times farther to that little independent bookshop outside of her neighborhood. She feels that connection—that relationship, sparked by more than just books but by people and the stories they share.

Deepen your company culture through storytelling.