The power of storytelling - with David Downs

Attracting and retaining talent during a global skills shortage is difficult, so it’s more important than ever to understand your employee value proposition, as well as how to communicate your firm’s brand, culture and business strategy.

As one of our keynote speakers at the ACE New Zealand Conference 2022, New Zealand Story Chief Executive David Downs session will help you develop a narrative that sets your business apart.

He will also provide a storyteller’s perspective on what defines the construction and infrastructure sector in Aotearoa and how to enhance our reputation beyond natural beauty in a competitive global economy.

Ahead of conference, we asked him to share a few insights about the power of telling your business’s story.

Storytelling helps you move from good to great

The word “storytelling” may sound whimsical, but people have always told stories. It helps us make sense of the world around us, and those within it. With storytelling, you can build a stronger bond with people and create an emotional connection in a way that talking about facts and figures just can’t do.

Storytelling is a tool that gives you a powerful way of differentiating your business, achieving greater alignment with your stakeholders, and building value and memorability for your brand.

It’s a learned skill and I’ll be sharing practical techniques to help you identify how to tell your brand’s story and use it to connect with your employees, customers, and suppliers.

Storytelling has the power to affect an organisation’s performance

When it comes to great examples of businesses creating value through storytelling, look at the luxury French fashion and alcohol brands – like Moët & Chandon, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel. They have used their founding stories, history, and lineage to build prestige for their brands.

Their actual products aren’t necessarily all that different from others on the market. Instead, it’s largely the power of their story that allows them to command a premium price. They create this feeling that, by buying their products, you can be connected to their amazing way of life.

Closer to home, you can see that with the New Zealand Merino Company. They have built a story based on the performance and quality of their merino wool and used it to create an emotional connection with their customers.

The success of their storytelling has also enabled them to align themselves with other prestigious merino brands like All Birds, Mons Royale and Ice Breaker. Through storytelling, they can command a premium price.

Focus on getting your own people engaged with your story

Too many leaders forget to talk about the purpose of their business – such as why it was established, what they stand for, and their hopes for the future. Instead, they focus on the operational side – like sales targets, or prospective customers.

You want to get your people to buy into the why – not the what. By sharing your story, people turn up to work emotionally and mentally engaged in your business. Focusing on facts and figures alone won’t do that.

Using story to engage with external stakeholders

People like doing business with people and talking about your story (and your values), it helps others feel aligned with you. Storytelling enables you to attract the right customers and suppliers, gain a competitive advantage because they’ll remember you, and build value for your business that reduces the need to compete on price.

Register for the ACE New Zealand Conference 2022 in Rotorua on 1-2 September, to enjoy this and other inspiring speakers delivering practical solutions to help you do ‘better business’.