“73% of the U.S. 12+ population (an estimated 209 million people) have listened to online audio in the last month, up from 68% in 2021”- Edison Research

“Researchers have shown that storytelling strengthens the connections consumers have to brands, so that to a great extent what a brand means to a consumer is based . . . on the narratives he or she has constructed that incorporate the brand.”- Journal of Business Strategy

“The majority (79%) of Millennials want to work for a company that cares about how it contributes to society and 69% would refuse to work for a company that is not socially responsible”- Journal of Education For Business

“As technology evolves, people have more options available to them, which may explain why [reports] found younger adults to be more likely to opt for audiobooks and the multi-tasking they enable”- Forbes

“64% of Millennials consider a company’s social commitments when taking jobs and will not work for a company if they do not have strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) values”- Cone Communications

“Stories are a device… [that] provide managers with a form of social and intersubjective interaction that reflects belief systems, role expectations, interpersonal norms and conditions for work behavior”- International Journal of Management

“Audio narrative has recently benefited from profound cultural shifts in media consumption associated with on-demand television’s binge watching revolution and the advent of digital longform storytelling”- Journal of Radio & Audio Media

“83% of Millennials would be more loyal to a company that allows them to contribute to social and environmental issues”- Cone Communications

“The storytelling process yields positive impacts on internal and external stakeholder outcomes including increasing employees’ thriving and meaningful work, as well as the attitudes and trust of multiple external stakeholders”- Journal of Strategic Marketing

“Audio platform superiority was about the desire to use an audio platform that is perceived to be superior to other audio alternatives, including on-demand convenience (time and place) and content (vari- ety and uniqueness)”- New Media and Society Journal

“There is value in a story that is, designed to drive the simulation and to elicit the [employee’s] best performance”- Society for Human Resource Management

“A focus on social responsibility is particularly important to attract, retain, and increase the commitment and engagement of Millennial employees and talented women”- Center for Creative Leadership

“Storytelling is essential to successful branding, since your brand is the sum of all your corporate behaviors and communications that inform your customers’ experiences with your product or company”- The Journal of Business Strategy

“When it comes to digital storytelling for branding, there is, a more positive attitude towards the company when the employer branding message is using digital storytelling”- Management Dynamic in the Knowledge Economy Journal

“Audiobook sales revenue has been on a steep rise since 2018, reaching 1.3 billion USD in 2020”- Statista

“The corporate world cannot ignore the demands and expectations of Millennials, who are devout in their desire to associate with companies aligned with their values”- Center for Social Impact Communication at Georgetown University

“Narrative presentation of corporate strategy, comparative advantage, is more effective at producing a consistent and confident choice of competitive advantage among an audience than a presentation of corporate strategy using a PowerPoint style, bulleted list approach”- Journal of Strategy and Management

“[the way employees are on-boarded] sets the tone for the culture of a place, the people, and the values of a new institution and can have a significant impact on employees’ sense of belonging”- Journal of Research, Assessment, and Practice in Higher Education

“Corporate storytelling is suggested to help demonstrate the importance of the corporate brand to internal and external stakeholders… as well as help a firm to bond with its employees”- Product & Brand Management

Millennials are more technologically advanced than any previous generation [and] survey data has shown a correlation between age and reading preferences [where] younger people listen to more audiobooks than older Americans”- State University of New York

“Audiobooks have had a big shift in popularity in 2018 where for the first time, “a full half of all Americans ages 12 and older have listened to an audiobook, up from 44% last year”- Forbes

“Storytelling that starts with the persona allows us to tap into these deeper recesses, where the influence of attitudes and emotions is greater… loyalty and trust are found there”- Journal of Business Strategy

“Story-telling is an important element… involving the sharing of experiences and creation of mental-maps of the environment in which people are motivated to perform to their full potential”- Leadership and Organization Development Journal

“Brands can bring their CSR (corporate social responsibility) efforts to life through authentic storytelling [and] Millennials want to know what companies are doing to make the world a better place”- Center for Social Impact Communication at Georgetown University

“Maximizing success through onboarding by storytelling during orientations, [helps employees understand] the company's culture and values [and] its goals and history”- Society for Human Resource Management

“Over 71 thousand audiobook titles (were) published in 2020, a 39% growth between previous years”- Statista

“Online audio (podcasts, radio shows, music and audiobooks) has become more popular than ever before”- Publishing Research Quarterly

“116% growth in spoken word listeners 13-34 years old in the past even years, with 18% growth in the last year”- National Public Radio Organization

“The audiobook market share shifted from 42% digital copy sales in 2009 to 87% digital copy sales in 2017”- Audio Publishers Association

“Employees have a deeper affiliation with the message through organizational storytelling due to aligning stories with their own experiences and understanding”- International Journal of Business and Social Science

“There are currently about 1000% more titles published since 2011”- Audio Publishers Association

“Employees have a deeper affiliation with the message through organizational storytelling due to aligning stories with their own experiences and understanding”- International Journal of Business and Social Science

“Storytelling that integrates a moral and spiritual component can transform an organizational culture so members of the organization begin to feel connected to a larger community and a higher purpose”- Journal of Business Ethics

“Spoken word audio listening is up 40% in the past seven years, and up 8% year over year”- National Public Radio Organization and Edison Research

“The most recent era in audio entertainment… users are asserting power over the medium to select particular content at particular times”- Mass Communication and Society Journal

“A poor cultural fit is frequently cited as one of the main reasons [an employee] decides to leave an organization… defining the organization's culture through storytelling should start with branding of the organization and continue through the interview and onboarding process”- Physician Executive Communication Journal

“[onboarding] can also aid employees in identifying values congruence which is critical to career contentment and commitment which can significantly impact retention to both the field and the institution long-term” - Journal of Research, Assessment, and Practice in Higher Education

“Three uses for storytelling in organizations: (1) to motivate employees, (2) for education and (3) to consolidate corporate culture”- Journal of Marketing

“19% [of Millennials] say they have paid in the last year for a subscription service for eBooks or audiobooks such as Kindle Unlimited or Audible”- American Press Institute

“Should produce positive effects on key audiences, such as increasingly positive attitudes toward the company and eventually behavioral intentions to support this company”- Public Relations Review

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They Don’t Buy Your Value Proposition, They Buy Your People!


Business Audio Theatre September 14, 2020 24

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With the virus, we have all been rocketed, kicking and screaming, into the future of a remote work force. We were headed there anyway. The problem is, we are not evolving into it in a thoughtful and experienced way like we could have done over time. We were forced and accelerated into it, and now we are there. But, are we prepared?

We could for instance, with time and experience, identify and mitigate the short comings, pitfalls, and downright threats to our brand and reputation that come along with a virtual workforce. But no! We were just thrust into it instantly without preparation. Now we are waiting for the other shoe to fall. And that’s going to be a big clunk.

We have lost our ability to socialize, affect peer expectations, guide by example, and provide instant daily oversight and education. All of these and more were possible in the physical office setting. In short, by sending our workforce to work from home, we have inadvertently isolated and insulated them and greatly diminished the interactions that build team spirit.

But it gets worse. Now remote workers are less influenced by their peers and company culture, both of which impact their behavior on your behalf. Whether it’s relationships with customers, other team members, or vendors, your staff’s soft skills or lack of them can hurt communication, cooperation, and even sales.

Why? Because ultimately your customers don’t buy your value proposition so much as they buy your people. Do your customers know, like, and trust your people? Do they feel like they are dealing with a person who empathizes with them and their problems? Do they feel like that person has their best interest at heart?

As we dumb down the jobs with more cut and paste, batch work, and scripts, we may be losing an essential ingredient in customer loyalty, vendor terms, and even workforce loyalty. That ingredient is personalized attention. It’s already becoming clear that the lack of personalized attention is hurting the effectiveness of online education. How long before it effects your bottom line?

Pre-COVID, when folks when to a physical office at a specific time, they went through a routine that actually had a positive effect on their performance and allegiance to your company. The alarm clock, the shower, work clothes, commute, and greetings by coworkers with stories, all reinforced their commitment to your company. Seeing you and your top people there, taking a personal interest in their progress and success, gave each employee a reason to stay with your company.

Watching you and others overcome problems and quickly apply those solutions to their own challenges, helped each member of your staff grow professionally. And even going home at the end of the day and having a physical separation from work gave them a psychological break that actually improved their performance. These benefits are difficult to reproduce online.

This change in workforce can’t help but trickle down to the way your virtual team represents your company. Plus, now with less physical cohesion, your remote folks are more likely to bolt for a few dollars more.

At first many companies will hail the new arrangement as a big savings in overhead, HR issues, and reduced management, but as we run headlong into the brave new world, we will start to notice something is missing, like customer and employee loyalty. And with that goes relationships, the foundation of personalized attention.

The businesses that will survive this sea of change will have to figure out how they can still provide personalized attention to their people, vendors, and customers. They will have to give their people the reasons they need to treat others with the same soft skills, empathy, and respect they witnessed at the office. Good customer service requires good people skills, whether coming from your office setting or from your employees’ home.

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