Storytelling should be required learning in school.
Just like math and English.
Sadly it’s one more example of how our education system has failed us.
But fear not dear reader! Today I’m going to show you 7 types of stories you can use to build a better business and brand.
Why Tell Stories?
We don’t just tell stories to entertain. We tell them to inspire and educate as well as to explain our values and beliefs.
Ultimately we tell stories to deepen the relationship with have with our audience.
If you read last week’s letter I sent you, we went into detail on the 4 parts of a great personal brand.
It was yet simple yet powerful introduction to brand building.
Shortly after I sent the letter I got an email from someone asking a very important question:
“Jason this is great! But I’ve always struggled with how to talk about myself without sounding like I’m boasting. How do I build my brand without sounding like a narcissist?”
It’s a great question. And the answer is to tell stories.
Stories allow us to convey core beliefs and expertise in a way that’s friendly and helpful.
Here are just a few of the things you can use stories to do:
• To explain yourself (Philosophy, Personal/Professional Brand)
• To Increase Authority (Why they should Listen/Follow you)
• To Glorify a Value or Belief
• To Build Someone’s Self-Confidence
• To Inspire
• To Shame/guilt
• To Quickly Establish Backstory
• To United Against a Common Enemy
• To Convey Empathy/Understanding
Before you can tell a great story you need to understand what you want the story to do. As I said earlier, it’s not just telling stories to entertain – it’s a way to create a deeper connection with your followers.
Once you know what impact you want your story to have you can select the best story to accomplish your goal.
The 7 Types of Stories
If you do a Google search you’ll find a bunch of conflicting information on how many story types there are. But there are 7 primary types we use in business.
Let’s take a look at each one.
Ascension & Descension
We use this story type to illustrate overcoming a massive setback. Let’s say you’ve been through bankruptcy and you want to turn that terrible event into something positive. You can use this type of story to talk about your experience and come back.
Jerry Maguire, Gladiator, Cinderella Man and Wolf of Wall Street are examples of Ascension and Descension stories.
Sometimes referred to as a “blackie story”. This story type describes a revelation or discovery you made (or one that was told to you).
It’s the story of how you came into possession of unique knowledge or information that allowed you to achieve a desired result.
Enemy of the State and The Pelican Brief are examples of a Discovery Story
Sometimes called a “Rebirth” story this story form describes a massive change in your life.
- Faithless to Religious
- Drug Addict to Successful Businessman
- Homeless to Real Estate Investor
- Socialist to Anarchist
Slumdog Millionaire, 12 Years a Slave and Father Stu are great examples of this story type.
The underdog story is used to show how you (or someone else) overcame incredible odds to win.
You might use this story to explain how you went up against the big box retailers and beat them all by changing the way the game was played.
Rocky, Seabiscuit and Rudy are all examples of an Underdog story.
Rags to Riches
Not much explanation is needed here. If you were poor and you’re now rich you can use this story to show how you did it. These types of stories are great for inspiring others to action.
The Pursuit of Happiness, Mr. Deeds and It Could Happen to You are all great movies that fit this type.
Best used if you are still on the road to success. A quest story describes what you’re after and the road you’ve taken to get where you are.
National Treasure and The Neverending Story are both Quest stories.
Journey and Return
Similar to the Quest story form, Journey and return differ in the fact that you have found what you went in search of and have returned to share the information with others.
Lord of the Rings and Finding Nemo both fit the story of Journey and Return.
I cover all of this in the Personal Branding Track of my Leverage Coaching Program.
I even go one step further and cover something called The Relationship Triangle, along with the 7 different types of conflict you can use to make your stories even more engaging.
Right now you can join Leverage free for 14 days. So check it out!
What To Do Now
Now that you know the 7 types of stories and why you would use them, I want you to pick a story type and use it to explain who you are and why you believe what you do.
You can use it to share an opinion, your mission, or how you get results for your clients.
Now get to work! 🙂
To be continued…