Four Ways for Early-Stage Startups To Tell Stories (Part II)

In a post earlier this week, I put the spotlight on the four easy ways that startups can embrace the power of storytelling. It included:

  • Stories about how a startup began (aka genesis stories)
  • Stories about a startup’s struggles, challenges, hurdles, and successes
  • Stories about a startup’s opinions, knowledge and insight (thought leadership)
  • Stories about a startup’s customers

The next question is: where are these stories told? (Note: This doesn’t include media coverage.) Here’s a graphic that provides some direction:

startup storytelling

The graphic is pretty basic (I’ll continue to update it), but it provides a snapshot of how “low-hanging fruit” stories can be told in different places – some digital, some analog.

The storytelling magic happens when these stories focus on the customer’s interests, needs, aspirations, motivations, problems, fears, etc. In other words, it’s about the customer, not about the product. 

It is important to remember that storytelling is an approach or mindset to marketing. It overlays marketing channels currently used – direct, traditional advertising, content media, social media, etc. Storytelling provides a “narrative framework” that drives marketing in new or different ways. 

This is what makes storytelling so exciting because it’s customer-centric. All that matters is the customer feels that you (the brand) get and value them. This connection will drive people to jump on the bandwagon (buy your product, register for a service, join a Webinar, attend an event) when there are similar products vying for their attention. 

Storytelling matters is a world in which consumers have easy access to information about their options – prices, features, reviews, recommendations, etc. What they’re seeking something more from brands; something that brings them into the proverbial tent.

Don’t get me wrong, good storytelling is a challenge. It requires creativity, flexibility, and the willingness to take risks. A brand that masters these characteristics can position itself as distinct, authentic and a step ahead.

To learn more about the power of storytelling, my new book Storytelling for Startups gives entrepreneurs  strategic and tactical guidance on how to tell stories to the right people in the right places. I also offer storytelling workshops. For more details, send me email (

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