Natalie Dowling shares what mineral water can teach you about storytelling.
I didn’t like mineral water as a kid. It seemed like drinking aspirin. As my tastebuds developed I became something of a sparkling water snob (don’t get me started on that carbonated water caper).
But I didn’t realise until recently – while developing storytelling workshops with a mineral water chaser – just how distinctive each natural spring can be.
My brain picking process with clients constantly reminds me how common it is that people fail to see their own distinctiveness. And if you can’t see it you can’t sell it. So with all of this confluence I offer a few thought bubbles to tell your story and tout your wares:
What are you made of? Over here at mineral water HQ in Daylesford Macedon Ranges the water from ‘Pump A’ tastes markedly different from ‘Pump B’ just a few metres away. Each has gathered its own mineral composition on a journey through rocks and over time. You might have a competitor that offers ‘like’ products or services but they are not you. Unearth the unique combination that gives your business its flavour. That could include people, values or the founding story.
Where do you come from? Natural mineral springs emerge from ancient underground aquifers. On the journey to the sea the rainwater was waylaid by geological circumstance, and now bubbles on up. Set the scene. In what context and circumstances did your business emerge? People want to know why you do what you do and how you got here. So communicate your origin story and reason for being. That means saying more than ‘Established 2014.’
What thirst do you quench? Or in business parlance, what problem do you solve? A zinc, magnesium or sulphur predominance in a mineral spring might remedy a specific ailment. Stories help people to understand why they need you or your product for the task at hand. Show them how you are useful from a client perspective so they might recognise or want to place themselves in an experience or story with you.
You won’t be to everyone’s taste. Ugh, sulphur! So don’t waste time thinking that the whole world is your client. Target strategically to those with an affinity or curiosity. Take a peek into your customer ‘persona’. Think about their stage of life, and try to understand their priorities and where they want to go. With targeted content you might suggest ways that your business can enter their story to play a supporting role.
The typical story arc or ‘formula’ includes development through different stages to create pace and curiosity. There’s a reason a story starts; something to hook us in. The build-up and resolution follow with obstacles, transformation and insight along the way. Water bubbling up through rock to create a spring is a resolution of sorts. Aim to share your journey in relatable ways that reveal your values and character, the experience you’ve gathered and the contributions you make.
Natural mineral water has authentic character (not like that carbonated pretender). It’s the real deal; trusted and untainted. Selling yourself is difficult. Don’t pretend to be something that you’re not. And don’t be afraid to show who you are. Vulnerability, honesty and personality will attract your people. You’ll feel more natural doing it and you can build relationships without feeling fraudulent or full of shite. People will trust that. You’ll believe in yourself.
We need water to live. For aeons humans have also been nourished by story and myth. Stories create connection and trigger empathy, trust and understanding. It’s our common language that helps us to make sense of the complex. Human speak quenches our innate thirst for meaning, beyond slogans or buzzwords. Through story we can relate and recognise ourselves. We emotionally buy-in because we are shown and feel something, rather than being told to think something.
Mineral springs offer deep replenishment and healing properties. So too do stories. They move us through ideas, transitions and growth. The potential of stories to humanise, and bring wellness and productivity to your workplace is huge. Not to mention their value in building relationships with clients and customers. Many people find it difficult to locate business stories but the ideas are all around; you might just need to be shown the way.
Storytelling is a valuable tool to bubble up business. My mineral water tastebuds took time to mature, and it may take time to develop your own business story skills.
You can get in touch for ideas or take the scenic route to our storytelling and team building workshops in Daylesford Macedon Ranges; home to 80% of Australia’s mineral springs (and 100% of me).
This article was first published on wordsonapage.com.au