By Jeff Beals
The Walt Disney Company is consistently named as one of the most admired companies in the world. Both investors and customers love many things about Disney, but a certain attribute has made the company truly special and has given it staying power in the volatile media industry.
“What has set apart Disney is its determination to put storytelling at the heart of its business and its ability to get its hands on new characters capable of bringing fans back again and again.”
So stated a recent article in The Economist entitled, “The Force Is Strong in This Firm.” The article claims that Disney has doubled profits over the past five years to $8.4 billion in large part because it has shifted its focus to high-quality content instead of focusing on the means of distributing content. In other words, Disney’s business rests on a rock-solid foundation of great storytelling.
The article further states, “Stories should offer Disney protection against the currents sweeping across the (media) industry.”
The art of storytelling is one of the most powerful forces affecting business today. Among management consultants and sales trainers, storytelling is in vogue these days. In fact, I even offer a full workshop on how sales professionals can harness the power of compelling stories.
You want to win over a prospective customer? Tell a story. You want to diffuse a conflict in your office? Bring people together with a story. Do you want your company to have a certain mystique that intrigues the public? Cast your vision in story form.
Just like Disney, you can benefit by placing a powerful story at the heart of your mission and existence.
A story is one of the most valuable things a business, organization or individual person can possess. Stories are effective. People can be moved by stories. Great accomplishments can be achieved because of an inspiring story.
We now live in a commoditized world. No matter what you sell, you have competitors that offer essentially the same thing. In the eyes of the end user, products and services are merely commodities. By basing your company/products/services on a captivating story, you can stand out in a commoditized marketplace in which many decisions are based on not-so-glamorous things such as price and convenience.
You need a differentiating factor, an advantage, something to set you apart. The story behind what you do and why you do it could be the difference between success and failure.
Think about the stories your company or organization has that might be of fascination to people on the outside. How can you capitalize on these stories?
Make an arsenal of stories you can pull out at any time you need them. Talk to your colleagues as they may have great stories about your organization. People learn by stories. People can be compelled to action by stories. Any time you are selling something or trying to convince another person of something, your job will be easier if you reduce your message to a memorable story.
Disney has long been based on stories, but it has ratcheted up its commitment to storytelling in recent years by purchasing other companies’ stories, including the Star Wars franchise from LucasFilm, Ltd.
What did Disney pay to own the Star Wars stories? $4.06 billion dollars.
That just shows you how valuable stories can be. Start building up your stories today!
Jeff Beals is a professional speaker, sales consultant and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at email@example.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.
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