Online Storytelling: Taking Your Customers Behind the Scenes

by Ken Mueller on January 30, 2013 · 6 comments

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The other day I remembered seeing a program back in the eighties that offered a behind the scenes look at how Lionel Ritchie’s “Dancing on the Ceiling” video was made. It’s very dated now, but was kind of cool at the time. I’ve included it here at the bottom if you care to watch it, even though it’s about 27-minutes long. But as cheesy as the song is, it’s rather fascinating to see what went into putting it together.

To this point, our culture has an interesting fascination with getting behind closed doors. We love to know what is going on behind the scenes or behind the curtain. We aren’t just satisfied with what is happening. Our curiosity gets the best of us and we want to know the “how” and the “why” of things. This is one of the reasons why we see so many new DVDs released with extra scenes, commentary, and behind the scenes footage. It’s why many of us enjoy watching or listening to documentaries. And we all love a good story.

 

Here in Pennsylvania we have a little known cable channel called PCN, kind of like a C-Span for the state. One of the most popular programs on that channel is PCN Tours. This program takes a rather low-budget, yet fascinating, approach to Pennsylvania businesses, as they tour all sorts of factories and museums. On any given day you might get a tour of a candy factory, a baseball bat factory, a steam engine company, or company that makes boxes. It’s actually an incredibly fascinating program.

Storytelling is one of the most important things businesses and nonprofits can do as they seek to engage customers online. We all love a good story, but especially love it when we get an insider’s view of things. Give us access to areas of your business that we never see. Tell us how and why you do certain things. Every business category has it’s own lingo and nomenclature; terminology known only to those within that category. Crack open the secrets and show us things we might never see. Demystify things for us. Give us a reason to care.

You can do this in blog posts, videos, pictures, posts on Facebook, or just about anywhere. By giving your customers insider access, they’ll begin to appreciate what you do, and trust you as someone willing to share. Now certainly you don’t want to give away any trade secrets, but there is plenty that you can share with the public

Grant me special access to your business and I might just be more likely to patronize your business or tell others about you.

How are you telling your story? Are you taking your customers behind the scenes of your business or organization?

Now enjoy the video!

 Online Storytelling: Taking Your Customers Behind the Scenes
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5 comments
icnovaro
icnovaro

Thanks, great post-story :P

barrettrossie
barrettrossie

Real stories are (1) kind like on-going/adult education and (2) so much more interesting than most of the fiction we consume, i.e., sitcoms, TV dramas and "reality" TV.  That PCN show sounds great. 

dgurnic
dgurnic

Hi Ken,

Great post! I really like your concept of a company demystifying a process or product. Not only does it give us a reason to care, it gives potential customers or clients a reason to trust. Using video or photos to give customers a "sneak peek" can create other opportunities to provide a unique customer experience online.

webmetricsconsulting
webmetricsconsulting

Hi Ken - you make great points and I agree: the story makes the connection. In fact, as a consumer, I'm certainly pulled in and more supportive when I know what's going on behind the product. For example, I've been buying my beef, pork, and chicken from a local farmer at a Public Market. When I was invited to come tour their farm, I jumped at the chance! I was a loyal customer before - now I'm an evangelist. Their "story" resonated with my own values, and I feel more connected to their business. They also share stories of life on the farm in videos, in email, and (most importantly) in face-to-face interactions. It's incredible.

Thanks for your post! You are spot on!

Kind regards,

Tracy

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