The art of business storytelling is a pivotal strategy for brand development, success and customer engagement for Nigerian entrepreneurs.
Njideka Agbo, principal consultant, Glann Media Consult says it is an integral part of an entrepreneur’s identity, noting that understanding this, is key to influencing public perception and building a lasting brand.
Business storytelling, according to Mind Tools, is the art of using stories to communicate and connect with employees, customers, suppliers, partners, and anyone else involved with an organisation. The purpose of business stories isn’t entertainment. Rather, they have a specific goal or desired outcome.
“The effectiveness of storytelling isn’t just anecdotal”, said Jerome Bruner, a Psychologist who found that stories are 22 times more memorable than facts alone. A report by Harvard Business Review also reinforces the above, stating that emotional connections are key drivers of brand loyalty and future customer value.
Buttressing this, Agbo shared how a TV commercial for Peak Milk, featuring the famous footballer Kanu Nwankwo, resonated deeply with diverse audiences, significantly boosting the brand’s growth. Agbo recalled, “The popular catchphrase ‘Papilo, one day, you go make us proud’ wasn’t just a slogan; it was a story that connected with people’s aspirations. It showed that winners drink Peak Milk.”
The impact of effective storytelling
From her experience in the media space as the former editor of Guardian Life magazine, Njideka witnessed firsthand how storytelling can alter the trajectory of businesses.
Recounting the story of Tunde Onakoya, founder of Chess In Slums, whose visibility skyrocketed following a feature article, she said “My feature on Tunde’s remarkable work catapulted the project to global attention, including recognition from celebrities like Paris Hilton, FIDE and Chess.com. It was a testament to how a well-crafted story can amplify visibility and impact.”
The impact of the storytelling approach for brand visibility and profitability is not just a creative choice but a strategic one, backed by data. According to Go-Globe, a business advisory firm, storytelling can boost conversions by 30 percent, and increase a product’s perceived value by up to 2706 percent thereby influencing customers’ decisions to pay more.
Moreover, about 75 percent of customers prefer brands that use storytelling, with 81 percent needing to trust a brand’s story before purchase, a report by the firm revealed.
For Nigerian startups, incorporating local culture and narratives is crucial. “If you speak in a language that I understand, you reduce barriers,” the Principal Consultant noted. “Incorporating local narratives and culture helps brands resonate more with their audience, creating a sense of familiarity and trust.”
The role of social media
Platforms like TikTok and Instagram offer immense opportunities for storytelling, hence, Agbo suggested leveraging influencer marketing and framing techniques to tell engaging stories. “Social media is a global marketplace for narratives,” she said.
Despite its effectiveness, business storytelling faces challenges like shorter attention spans and content saturation. Agbo, a storytelling maestro, believes the solution to be embracing creativity and finding the right balance in using statistics. “Creativity is key and avoid predictability by continuously innovating your storytelling approach,” she said.
Regarding future trends, Agbo pointed out the growing significance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR) in storytelling. “As we advance, understanding and integrating these technologies become crucial for effective communication,” she said.
Technavio’s market analysis supports this, forecasting a $267.84 million increase and 9.87 percent growth in the digital storytelling courses market between 2023 and 2028, thus emphasising the growing importance of this skill.
The future of storytelling in Nigerian business
Envisioning the future of storytelling in Nigerian business, Agbo concludes, “Businesses must conduct research, recognise their evolving audience and appreciate storytelling as a crucial tool for retention and engagement.”
This in-depth analysis underscores the transformative power of storytelling for Nigerian entrepreneurs and startups, offering a roadmap for using narrative techniques to build lasting, emotional connections with their audiences.
With storytelling proving its worth in the world of branding and marketing, entrepreneurs like Agbo are leading the charge, demonstrating that a well-told story can be the most powerful tool in a brand’s arsenal.