Storytelling is the oldest form of education, predating even the earliest forms of writing. Our stories make us who we are, and storytelling is a means of sharing experiences as we seek to connect with or to learn from each other. Everyone has a story to share, so how and what we share is the key to being a good storyteller.
The same applies to businesses. They share stories because they want to connect with consumers—to communicate more about their brand and the values they represent.
Storytelling at Its Core
At Life Happens, we’ve been sharing stories since our early days to help consumers make smart insurance decisions. For example, our Real Life Stories Program is, in itself, a storytelling program. A main goal of the program is to educate consumers through the lens of someone who had firsthand experience with life, disability or long-term care insurance.
The program highlights the role insurance has played in helping families and businesses, along with the agents who have helped them, in times of great financial need. These powerful, true stories show why insurance is necessary, and how their emotional struggles weren’t compounded by financial hardship.
Take a look at Stephen Miller’s Real Life Story video here. Stephen’s wife, Katie, died from cancer at age 30 shortly after their second son was born. “Nothing can bring Katie back, but having life insurance meant we didn’t lose everything,” says Stephen. These are not just words or sound bites—this is a heartbreaking firsthand experience. By sharing his story, Stephen inspires people to make important and informative decisions in their own futures.
People can see themselves—or those they love—reflected in these stories, and therefore can imagine taking action to protected their loved ones, too. So when you share these stories, you are educating and helping people to take action.
Tips for Great Storytelling
If you’re creating your own storytelling content, here are two tips to remember:
1. Be authentic and compelling. This ensures that your audience will want to not only connect with you, but will want to hear your message. After all storytelling should be relatable and relevant. But, do yourself a favor and don’t be anything but authentic!
2. Share stories that matter to your brand. Review your goals and make sure you are using or creating content with the right “feeling.” By hitting the right tone and messaging, it will leave a favorable, anticipated impression. A few questions you should ask yourself:
- Why should you communicate this?
- Why should your audience care?
- How will your audience feel?
Here are some examples from our company partners with powerful brand focused and relatable messaging:
- New York Life shares how they’ve been helping people act on their love.
- American Family has a “you’ve been dreaming about this car since you were eight” policy.
- MassMutual shares how we’ll weather this storm.
Leveraging the Power of Celebrity
Life Happens also utilizes storytelling through our awareness campaigns such as Life Insurance Awareness Month (LIAM) in September, Disability Insurance Awareness Month (DIAM) in May, and Insure Your Love campaign in February.
Our first awareness campaign—LIAM— was launched in 2004, when we wanted to be a rallying point for the whole industry. And at its heart is storytelling—through the eyes of a celebrity spokesperson. Watch this public service announcement from this year’s LIAM spokesperson Brooke Shields. These celebrity partnerships help inspire others to have conversations around life insurance. Plus, a suite of engaging content is available for the industry to leverage.
Here is another example from one of our member partners who also uses a celebrity spokesperson to create exposure.
- State Farm with Chris Paul and Alfonso Ribeiro.
With some uncertainty still ahead of us, one thing that remains clear is that the stories we share connect us and help us learn from each other. I hope this gave you some background on our programs, insights and inspiration to share stories to your target audience.