This may be the first time the Joyous Health blog begins a post with Warning: This post contains a Game of Thrones spoiler.
While the show is now wrapped up (I’m still not over it!), here I am, writing about a key part of the dialogue in the last episode—and funnily enough—tying it back to real life business and entrepreneurship. You don’t need to have watched a single GoT episode to understand this key point, so hear me out.
While the ending of the series was not entirely what anyone expected, here’s the gist. After the fate of a well-liked character was decided, it was time to find a new ruler of the Seven Kingdoms and much like electing a leader in our world, big speeches are involved, along with a good dose of dramatic pause for effect. So, here we are: A kingdom without a ruler, and out comes a character named Tyrion standing in front of all the important lords and ladies, urging them to consider an unlikely choice as their new ruler since the previous weren’t up to par. In Tyrion’s mind, a character named Bran was the best suitable person to lead and unify them all. You see, Bran is the keeper of all the kingdom’s history: past, present and the yet to be written (don’t ask). Tyrion convinces them with the best captivating two-minute speech I’ve ever heard—enough to agree, even if it wasn’t the ending I wanted!
“What unites people?” Tyrion asks.
“Stories. There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story,” he continues. “Nothing can stop it.”
And, he’s right (even if he’s a mythical character, with an annoying faux British accent, might I add).
What is storytelling?
Storytelling, as a tool, lights up areas in our brain, creates empathy, moves us, brings us together, changes us, impacts decision and sparks connection. Think about how powerful and potential-filled this tool would be in building a business and developing a brand!
A bit of backstory. I’m Carol, the Art Director and Graphic Designer at Joyous Health. My love of storytelling is rooted in my childhood. I was always—and to this day—reading, writing and constantly listening. My story today consists of art, design, baking, and a lot of sarcasm – but I digress. I’m part of a pretty great team of people who are working together to show the world the Joyous Health brand. We’ve just celebrated 10 years, and our growth and much of our success all come down to consistently sharing Joy’s story:
“Joyous Health is the ongoing story of how one woman took her passion for natural health and not only used it to heal her own health issues, but to also inspire and teach others that they can take charge of their own health joyously, mindfully, and naturally! To this very day and for every day after, the driving force for everything we do remains the same—to inspire people to live healthier, happier lives.”
Your business needs a story to tell. Here’s why.
Stories aren’t limited to books. They’re part of everyday life. That tune you’re humming but can’t quite remember all the words to, is a story; a commercial is a story; even when you’re flipping through a magazine and stop at an ad, that ad is telling a story. That Instagram post of a Gluten-free Chocolate Quinoa Cake is telling a story.
Stories are important to communicate a narrative along with an experience of your brand. Together, they work as a building block of your business.
Well before buying a product, your brand is the first thing your audience will see, and the story behind it is what’s going to connect with them. A good, genuine, emotive story is what piques interest.
What is a brand story?
First, let’s start off by defining what a brand is. Seth Godin is a well-known marketer, entrepreneur and author. Seth defines branding (the act of creating a brand) as a “set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
The reason your business exists (think mission and vision), the expectations you want to build, the solutions you provide, the emotions and connections you want to cultivate – that’s a brand story.
Everything you create or sell as part of your business should trace back to this story.
Old school business strategy would have focused on the product or service as the be-all-end-all in its story. You were talked at. You were sold at. But, in this social media age, that’s not the case anymore. It’s evolved into stories that inspire an emotional reaction. You’re no longer talking at, you’re now talking to.
The story you tell forges a bond so that they keep choosing you over your competitors and telling others about you and your business, further increasing brand awareness and building loyalty.
Your story is the key element in the sustainable growth of your business. So, how do you write one?
How to write a story
Step 1: Start with WHY
We talk about “finding your WHY” a lot in the Joyous Health Business Program because it’s such an integral part of business building. You have to know your "why" before you can make any leaps in your entrepreneurial venture.
While starting a business in a field that feels saturated can be a bit overwhelming (there are as many Graphic Designers as there are Wellness Entrepreneurs, trust me!), it’s important to know two things from the start:
1. You are you, and there’s nobody out there exactly like you!
2. Your people will find you – but, they can only find you once you find your voice and get clear on your "why." That’s how you stand out. That’s your differentiator.
Grab a piece of paper and write down your "why": why you decided to become a wellness entrepreneur, why you believe your take in this field is important, why you’re the expert, etc. Be genuine and write from the heart. Your "why" needs to be true to who you are if it is meant to connect and resonate with people. If you want to dive further into your "why," see Step 3.
Step 2: Put your people at the forefront
You have to put people at the forefront of your story. If they cannot see themselves in it, they won’t pay attention to it. The most relatable stories of brands revolve around overcoming struggles and lead to a resolution or a solution—a win. The key to a good story is called a narrative arc.
Every story, whether it’s told in a book or a movie, follows a narrative arc. An arc is the spine of the story, and it often flows in three acts (What’s up, Shakespeare?!).
The first is where you set the scene; the second is often where the character faces tension or conflict, building to a peak; the third is where the conflict or tension is resolved. Inserting emotions/empathy/all the feels throughout the acts is what makes for a memorable arc.
Can you use the three-act narrative arc in business storytelling? Hell yeah!
Act 1: You’ve already set the scene with your "why." Make sure it’s genuine.
Act 2: Put yourself in your audience's shoes and think about what their frustrations are. What's in their way (that's the tension)?
Act 3: What offerings does your business provide? What are some of the problems you’ll solve? Make sure it’s personal. Did you also struggle before you got to this solution? In this act (and literally ALWAYS), it’s imperative that you tell the honest truth, as this display of simply being you and genuine is going to be what creates a lasting bond.
We talk about branding personalities and Cultivating a Community (your audience) in the Joyous Health Business program and all of these points will help you define a stronger narrative arc and an even more compelling story to share.
Step 3: Dive deeper
By enrolling in the Joyous Health Business Program, you’re going to be exposed to a group of experts cheering you on as you dive right into building your business. I’ll be right alongside you working through concepts such as developing your brand’s personality, positioning, clearly defining your narrative and creating an experience. Every aspect of business-building, from content creation, finances to self-care, is covered. We've got you!
Why stories are everything
There’s a common misconception that a brand is “just a logo” and that’s it, or a business is just a product. It’s so much more. It’s about authentic emotions and connections. It’s about stories. Like Tyrion said “Nothing can stop [a good story].” Why are they so important? Because we’ve all got one to tell, and there’s always going to be someone listening.
I’d love to know… What brand stories have you forged a connection with, and why? What is it about those stories that drew you in?