Stories are meant to be told to an audience. A sharp storyteller knows what her audience wants to listen. This simple truth is equally true for a social enterprise or a social impact organization. It has a variety of audience. In your role as a ‘Storyteller Founder’ it is crucial for you to know who your different audiences are and tell them what they are most likely to respond favourably to.
In an earlier article, 5 Things To Plan For Before Telling Stories Of Impact For Your Organization I have enlisted steps entrepreneurs and marketers should take before embarking on a storytelling exercise. The first step is to identify stories to tell and this requires you to know who your different audience are.
Who Are Your Audience And What Stories They Like To Listen
Following are the broad categories of your audience
In your startup journey you may be meeting investors often. They are the ones who invest money in your venture and hence are your most patient audience. The most important aspect that they worry about is the ability of your startup to sustain and grow profitably in near future.
Stories that showcase proof of your organization’s social impact and its scalability are best suited to such an audience. For example let them hear from some of the beneficiaries or impactees whose lives your organization has changed.
2. Individual donors
If you are a nonprofit raising money from several thousand donors through a crowdfunding campaign then you know how difficult it is to get them to donate. Getting them to feel an emotional connect with your cause probably is the best way.
Short films that employ storytelling that tug at the heart of your donor and goad her to act are best suited for such an audience. For example employing ‘Identifiable Victim Effect’ in your stories can draw attention of your audience to the adversity of a particular individual thus allowing them to empathize with her and feel compelled to help your cause.
Your customers are probably one of the most important audience segments that need to be told stories to. As an innovator you have created a product or service that solves their key problems. A story needs to communicate the benefit of your innovation, in more ways than one if possible. Customers will most likely relate to someone similar to them who is using your product or service in a way that it has to be used. This person can become your brand ambassador.
Consider you sell clean energy stoves to rural customers. A short film made on an early adopter family narrating not only its savings to the family income but also better health for its women folk can attract serious consideration of similar target rural families.
Your potential employees will most often agree to work with your organization because they are personally motivated to contribute towards your cause and vision. All they need is a reason to feel that your organization is the right place for their career growth and that they are part of a larger plan. Employer branding can immensely help you in attracting the right talent.
If you are a founder of a startup you need to tell a story of your personal trials and how that led to your organization’s vision. Some of your key employees need to talk about the work ethics and culture of your organization.
Your partners are the chief instruments in materializing your vision. Typically they are all those entities that collaborate with you in various capacities to achieve your impact. They deeply care about the prospect of growing together along with your organization. Your story should focus on the ‘How’ and ‘Why’of this.
For example, if you are an educational content provider you may rely heavily on your franchise partners in rural areas to distribute your product to government schools in these areas. Your story needs to convey a vision of changing the educational outcomes of disadvantaged children and the targeted growth in schools to achieve this vision. Such a story will get a potential partner excited about teaming up with your organization.
This is the most dynamic audience you have to face. They will have sharp questions and a need for deeper information on your organization. Stories that attract attention of the media can vary. While business media may be more interested in your business model and metrics, regional media may focus more on your ability to bring about change in their geographies.
Stories can be created for the media audience. However they are adept at seeking out the information they specifically need and hence all that you need is a neat profile of your organization.
A storyteller needs to know who is listening to his story. Telling the most appropriate story to a certain section of audience can yield positive outcome. As a founder or a marketer you need to know who your audience is.
Cover image: NEA Today