Back in 1853, George Crum, a chef at the well-liked Carey Moon Lake House in Saratoga Springs, New York, had a fateful encounter with a fussy customer. This customer ordered a simple plate of fried potatoes - a request that seemed easy enough. Crum prepared the dish in his usual style, serving it hot and freshly fried. However, the customer was dissatisfied, complaining they were too thick and soggy.
A bit surprised, Crum decided to adjust his approach, slicing the potatoes thinner in the hopes of satisfying this particular patron. However, to his astonishment, the customer rejected the dish once again. Feeling a mix of frustration and challenge, Crum decided to go to the extreme. He cut the potatoes as thin as paper and fried them until they were extra crispy, finishing them off with a heavy hand of salt, almost daring the customer to complain again.
As he sent out the plate, he was readying himself for another complaint. However, in a surprising twist, the customer was overjoyed. The overly thin, crispy, and heavily salted potatoes were a hit! That is how; out of a stroke of frustration, George Crum accidentally invented one of our most beloved snacks - the potato chip.
The story of the potato chip's creation likely resonates with you now. Chances are, this story will now stick in your memory. More so than if, you had encountered this in a bulleted list or another purely information-based format. Why is that?
It is because we, as humans, are inherently drawn to stories rather than raw facts or isolated data points. The power of a narrative lies in its ability to tap into our emotions and foster a sense of human connection. This emotional engagement makes stories so much more memorable.
How to personalise?
The power of storytelling is not confined to the world of culinary creations. It is equally effective in any form of communication. Just as Crum's story resonated with us, a personalized article can resonate with its target audience, leaving a lasting impact.
Stories have a unique ability to evoke emotions, which are crucial for memory formation. When people experience an emotional response, they are more likely to remember the information being shared.
In a study by Paul J. Zak, a neuroscientist and author, it was discovered that character-driven stories consistently cause the synthesis of oxytocin, a hormone associated with empathy and trust. This is especially important for marketing, where establishing trust is a vital component of the sales process.
Think about it. The potato chip story is memorable because it is a personal narrative. We connected with Crum's frustration, his determination, and ultimately his success. That is why; personalizing your articles can create a connection that goes beyond conventional business discourse.
According to research conducted by Uri Hanson at the National Library of Medicine, when a person tells a story, the brain activity of both the storyteller and listener becomes synchronized, fostering a deeper connection.
How does that connection form?
- By understanding your audience, speaking their language, and directly addressing their needs.
- By sharing relevant case studies and testimonials that they can relate to.
- By presenting data that is meaningful to them, offering actionable advice.
- Ensuring your content is engaging and conversational.
Our brains are wired to empathize with others, and storytelling can tap into this innate ability. By placing the audience in someone else's shoes, stories enable them to better understand and relate to the subject matter.
A study published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience revealed that when listening to stories, people activate the same brain regions they would use if they were experiencing the events themselves. This level of empathy is particularly valuable in B2B SaaS marketing, as it helps customers envision the real-world impact of your product or service.
9-step guide on personalization
- Understand your audience: just like Chef Crum needed to understand his customers' tastes, you need to understand your readers, their needs, their problems, and their desires.
The more you know about them, the better you can personalize your content to appeal directly to them.
- Speak their language: in any industry, there is often "industry jargon" or specific terminology that is used. If your audience is using these terms, you should too. Nevertheless, just like Crum did not want to over-salt his chips, do not overdo the jargon.
Make sure your content is easily digestible.
- Share relevant case studies: nothing screams personalization more than a good case study. Find examples that resonate with your readers. This could be an example of a common challenge they managed to overcome or a success story that your audience can aspire to.
- Highlight customer testimonials: just like the unexpected praise from Crum's picky customers, testimonials can be incredibly powerful. If you have customers who are willing to share their positive experiences, this can make your content more personal and relatable.
- Use data wisely: data can add a lot of credibility to your articles, but it has to be relevant. Always tie it back to your audience. For instance, if you are writing for small businesses, use data about small businesses.
- Address the reader directly: this is a simple technique, but it is effective. Use the word "you" in your articles. It makes the reader feel like you are speaking directly to them, just like a one-on-one conversation.
- Offer actionable advice: always aim to provide readers with something they can do after reading your article. Whether it is a strategy, they can implement or a new way of thinking about a problem, actionable advice makes your content more personal and valuable.
- Create engaging and personal titles: just as Crum's potato chips needed an appealing name, your articles need engaging titles. Make them specific, relevant, and intriguing to your target audience.
- Keep it conversational: even though you may want your content to be professional, it does not need to be dry. A conversational tone can make your content feel more personal and engaging, just like you're having a chat with your reader.
The key is to remember that behind every B2B transaction, there is a human being. Moreover, what do humans love? Stories.
Research by Jennifer Aaker, a professor at Stanford University, found that stories are up to 22 times more memorable than facts alone. We are hardwired to respond to them. They help us understand complex ideas, evoke emotions, and forge a stronger connection with the subject matter. Just like George Crum and his potato chips, you might be surprised by how much your audience appreciates a personal touch.
The tale of George Crum and his crisply ingenious potato chips serves as more than just an interesting anecdote. It is a powerful illustration of how personalization and storytelling can transform even the simplest of things into something unforgettable.
As we apply this lesson to our B2B articles, we do not just deliver information; we connect, engage, and leave a lasting impression. Just as potato chips are now an indispensable part of our snack repertoire, a well crafted, personalized narrative can become an integral part of our B2B communication.
So, the next time you pick up a chip, remember: every piece of content is an opportunity to tell a story that will stick. After all, what good is a potato chip without that satisfying crunch?