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Create Compelling Business Stories in Three Simple Steps

by Jonathan Kranz  |  
September 11, 2007

Stories aren't just for campfires and school children. They're a powerful way for businesses to communicate their value, to create an emotional hook that sticks in their prospects' imaginations.

Think, for example, of how Nordstrom has used the story of the no-questions-asked-money-back refund to the customer who returned an old tire—even though Nordstrom has never sold tires. It's cemented the department store's reputation for outstanding customer service.

Or consider the story of how two determined engineers, Bill Hewlett and David Packard, pioneered the development of Silicon Valley from a tiny garage in California. That anecdote has become the foundation of HP's reputation as an innovative, entrepreneurial organization.

Stories can make a business. Yet most businesses remain tongue-tied—not because they don't have stories to tell, but because they don't know how to tell them.

Good news: you don't have to be a writer to create an effective business story. In fact, all it takes is three simple steps, what I call "3D Storytelling."

Step One: State the DESIRE

Why did the chicken cross the road? Because it wanted something on the other side—shade, food, or a rooster. Desire is the engine that drives a story, the force that gives the story its momentum. For a story to begin, someone has to want something.

Many of the best business stories feature customers—people your prospects can empathize with. So begin there: Think of a recent success you've had with a client. What objective, goal or dream did they have? What did they want? And why did it matter?

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Jonathan Kranz is the author of Writing Copy for Dummies and a copywriting veteran now in his 21st year of independent practice. A popular and provocative speaker, Jonathan offers in-house marketing writing training sessions to help organizations create more content, more effectively.

LinkedIn: Jonathan Kranz

Twitter: @jonkranz

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