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Story Wins the Day

Yesterday I watched the live stream of the Startup Battlefield Finals at Disrupt NY, which included a six minute presentation by each team followed by a Q & A from the panel of judges.

During one startup’s Q & A, Michael Arrington asked a question (starting at 8:14) about how they’re differentiated from other food delivery services.

The presenter started saying, “This is really a full experience where we’re giving people a — ”

“Yeah yeah yeah…” Arrington interrupted.

In that moment, Arrington demonstrated how we all feel about a pitchy tone: we don’t want to hear it! We don’t want to hear the generalities and vague-eries or the “full experience” you’re providing. We see and hear that jargon all day long in a million different sales messages.

I just want to know how you can make me a superhero.

The power of story kills the pitchy tone of your content marketing.

Every great story has a setting, conflict, climax, and resolution. The setting is the world your target audience lives in, and the climax is the problem or inconvenience they’re facing. Sometimes people know this problem and are frustrated, and other times they don’t even know there’s a better way.

But through story, you can speak to people in a very human way and give them tools to conquer the conflict they’re facing.

And like we’ve said before, when the story you tell builds on someone else as the bad ass hero, it’s like you’ve given them super powers to change the world around them.

That’s not something people quickly forget, and it’s much more likely that they’ll brag about your product or service as a result.

Back to Arrington’s Q & A.

Through some questioning, the presenting team eventually took the focus off what they do and started focusing on their story.

Here’s the setting, conflict, climax, and resolution as I understand it: When health-conscious people want to eat out or order in, their service does all the work of presenting healthy options so you don’t have to think so hard about eating right.

A statement like that inspires people, don’t you think?

Story matters.

Recently this inquiry came to us from a potential client:

I’ve looked at about a hundred explainer videos and shortlisted you guys because I feel you’re not in the animated sales pitch business but craft stories that are genuine in tone.

That client turned out to be Enigma, who ended up winning the Startup Battlefield.

Many things contributed to their success, obviously, but from the beginning Enigma held a strong belief that story matters, and when you believe that story matters, you find your voice and win the day.

Congratulations, Team Enigma!

Watch their video below or click here to view it on our site. You can also read an article about them on TechCrunch.

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