Storytelling and Marketing; Selling a Story or Telling Your Truth?

Storytelling and Marketing; Selling a Story or Telling Your Truth?

A very good friend of mine, Real Estate Coach Darin Persinger wrote a post this week called Storytelling Isn’t Marketing poking some holes into how we can be quite guilty of buying in to the ‘new shiny tool’ or in this case the ‘new shiny idea’.

He raises some very valid points and right out of the gate I feel I should establish that Darin is an ‘Action’ guy in my opinion.  He’s a big believer of applying systems and formulas and then actually executing, and I happen to know that the clients he attracts and work with absolutely LOVE him and his approach and inevitably they find ‘success’.

‘Storytelling’ really is a big buzz word this year in the marketing world and I can see why Darin is a tad skeptical. He posits that spending time just ‘storytelling’ won’t make any great change to your business but rather applying some consistent efforts are the key. He says “You can’t just be a ‘story Teller – you have to be a story SELLER” cause you ain’t in the business of entertaining – you’re in the business of selling.

Here’s the thing… I believe that consumers can smell a ‘sell’ a long ways off and when we share stories,

we touch, we connect, we relate and we inspire.

From a brand perspective it teaches people WHY they would be associated with you and WHY they would want to do business with you. It’s talking to the heart more than the head.

“People don’t buy WHAT you do. They buy WHY you do it.” ~ Simon Sinek

Storytelling is fabulous way to share your WHY, your values, your culture and touch all the people you would want to attract as clients.

It gets a little fuzzy when we compare Big Brands vs Personal Brands. There is clearly a difference between engaging with a real live person and a ‘brand’. We have different relationships and different expectations from them.

My good friend and marketing project partner Laura Monroe posed an interesting question last night “Who’s running the narrative? A single person or a group of people and do we trust it?”  My answer ~ The consumer equates an EXPERIENCE with the brand whether its an individual or a Big Brand and thus we trust the consistent experience.

Perhaps too many brands are confusing the power of content marketing with advertorial. There is a distinction and it’s a massive one. How valuable would this blog be if all it did was talk about the value and merits of Twist Image as a marketing agency? ~ Mitch Joel from his Six Pixels of Separation post Unbranded Content Marketing

I think where the wheels fall off the bus is when people/brands get sucked into the whole vortex of what they ‘SHOULD’ be doing instead of coming at from a genuine ‘What can I GIVE?’ perspective. When you’re so focused on what you’re gonna get out of the deal it turns people/consumers off. Brands that inspire and are committed to delivering FABULOUS experiences are the ones that resonate and ultimately win (course easier said then done!)

The mistake I see most brands make, is they aren’t sure WHAT their call to action or their PURPOSE even is. (Trust me ~ Even I struggle with this one!) If you don’t know specifically what you want your consumers to do… then nothing happens and you move on to the next shiny object.

As in all things in life…. it comes back to CLARITY.

Know WHO you are, WHAT you stand for and WHY you’re doing it… then tell your story.

The rest will come.

About Teri Conrad

Social Marketing Consultant. Brand & Social Biz Strategist. Community Outreach. Real Estate. Embracing the shift in communications and passionate about connection and engaging in #ConversationsThatMatter. Infuse with a little wine!


  1. Hi Teri — thanks for writing such a great article! I agree with your points 100%. Your insights are a good reminder for us all about where to focus our attention with all the hype around storytelling. I like your post so much that I have added it to my curated content on business storytelling. It is set to publish this Thursday morning, and then get pushed out to my social media channels. You’ll be able to see it here, and read my review, at

    Keep writing such wonderful material! Thanks again — Karen


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