by Debbie Josendale

Personal storytelling as a marketing strategy…is a relatively new idea in the world of business.  Since the beginning of time, we’ve been told to not show your emotions in business, be professional, focus on the facts. But in the midst of an ever uncertain and noisy world, people are not clamoring for cold logic and facts…but the warmth of oohs and ahhs that come from being touched in an emotional and authentic way.

Marketing Strategy: Personal Storytelling

That’s why personal storytelling has jumped into the tool bag of marketing strategy.  The ability to tell a purposeful story helps you cut through the normal starting point of distrust and you’re  just trying to sell me something.  Instead, your personal story enables you to connect more deeply with clients, build trust and be memorable.

Personal Storytelling…Dancing with the Stars Live Demo

Last night Dancing with the Stars offered a powerful live demonstration of the power of personal storytelling.  A new feature to the show, the third round challenged the celebrities to dance to a song of their choosing that reflected the most memorable year in their lives.  A mini personal story about the year they chose preceded each dance.

No matter how cynical you might feel about celebrities, watching each one tell their story…turned them into real people…just like you and me.  Each story had the three building blocks that create compelling personal stories: challenge, struggle and resolution.

Their personal stories transformed the  contrived Hollywood image into someone who was more relate-able and memorable…because of their authenticity!

You could hear the oohs and ahhs as the most famous ballroom in the world turned into a sea of tears and soggy tissues. Even the judges were moved.  Their comments were kinder and the overall scores were the highest of any third show of the season.  The power of personal storytelling.

What’s Your Personal Story?

Personal storytelling is a powerful  marketing strategy and connects to your Marketing Mojo. Get started by thinking about  your own story.

What challenges and struggles have you faced, that help you tell a purposeful personal story, to your target market?

What have you overcome in your life that others might find inspiring and help you to connect in a more meaningful way?

3 Tips to Powerful Personal Storytelling

1.  Authentic

Your personal story must be authentic and told from the point of view of your challenge, struggle and resolution. The feeling experienced by the listener is one of heartfelt versus heartburn.  Heartburn happens when your story is convoluted and self-serving.

2. Relevant

It’s all about context…your personal story must be relevant to the market that you serve.  Credibility and connection is created by sharing something that is common to both or has a common sense of meaning. Stories that are out of context create confusion and a sense of TMI on the part of the listener.

3. Timing

The art of personal storytelling as a marketing strategy lies in timing.  Personal storytelling helps to deepen relationships and should be shared at time that is appropriate in the relationship building process.

If you’d like to experience the power of personal storytelling, watch the following Dancing with the Stars video of  veteran JR Martinez and Karina Smirnoff. They received the longest standing ovation in DWS history!


What do you think…is personal storytelling an effective marketing strategy?

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