How Storytelling Leads to Better Business Outcomes for CPG Organizations

If you’re in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) business, you know that earning a spot on retailers’ shelves or digital storefront can be a challenge, particularly when shoppers have more options than ever. Let’s unpack a few common scenarios we see in CPG organizations…

Imagine you’re a category manager. You need help building better connections to retailers, particularly in this new hybrid business environment where face-to-face contact is no longer a guarantee. How do you get the skills to communicate critical learnings and trends to retailers—from shelf strategy, to point of sale, to shopper insights?

Or picture this – your company has a new product ready to hit the market. You, of course, are familiar with all the bells and whistles and the value prop, but how do you effectively communicate this to retailers to get them to put it on their physical – or digital – shelves? You have a 30-minute lunch scheduled with a buyer… without a laptop or PowerPoint deck, how will you convince them? You probably don’t have to imagine this scenario if you have lived it before.

Perhaps you’re in marketing and trying to keep up with all the new and changing ways consumers interact with brands. How do you build these connections and make your brand stand out in an authentic and relatable way?

If these scenarios resonate with you, keep reading. We’ve been partnering with many CPG organizations to address these and other common business challenges (data literacy and analytics just to name one of them!) through storytelling and data visualization training.

We believe that by applying our simple storytelling framework to every interaction, no matter who your audience, your teams can bring clarity and meaning to your ideas (and products) to influence key business decisions.

Why Storytelling?
Many roles in CPG organizations – from category managers, to supply chain and shopper marketing managers – are challenged with how to navigate and present huge volumes of complex and disorganized data about products, retailers, shoppers, consumers, and more. How can they distill a seemingly endless series of facts and figures into actionable recommendations? The right tools and skills (spoiler alert – storytelling!) that can streamline and simplify data literacy and analysis will be essential to the CPG leaders of 2023 – and beyond!

Storytelling provides a framework for you to clearly communicate your ideas and provide calls to action. This doesn’t mean you can’t include your data. In fact, data is necessary to support your narrative. But the key is to wrap your relevant data into a story – with characters, setting, conflict, a BIG Idea, and resolution. This combination of story, visuals, and data will bring your ideas to life and give your audience something to remember.

Your BIG Idea will Leave Your Audience Ready to Act
Every story needs a BIG Idea – this is the one thing you want your audience to remember. In the case of the common scenarios shared above, it could be something that speaks to shopper trends.

For example:

  • You need to invest more in convenient and healthy family meal options to meet the needs of busy parents.
  • To connect to a growing health and eco-conscious shopper, we need to provide transparency into our manufacturing process and how we source our ingredients.
  • To attract the next generation of shoppers, we must create an interactive and informative app for consumers to engage with us.

Your BIG Idea is a simple, conversational statement that captures the so what? of your story with high-level benefits. In short, it’s a one-line “a-ha” to your audience that will get them to lean in and want to hear more.

Whether you’re aiming to showcase your consultative skills as a great partner, sending an email, or preparing a pitch, crafting your story around your BIG Idea will help you tell a compelling and influential narrative that help you stand out and – more importantly – get your audience to say “Yes!” Think about how many pitches retailers must listen to. Don’t you want to be the one remembered among your competitors?

Once you’ve identified and shared your BIG Idea, you can move into the resolution of your story. This should be the easy part – after all, no one knows your product or solution better than you do. Now that you’ve given your audience a reason to care, the rest of the story should come naturally. You’re just resolving the tension you’ve built up in your narrative – and who doesn’t love a satisfying story ending, after all?

Level Up with Storytelling
CPG organizations are challenged with communicating to a diverse group of internal and external stakeholders on a regular basis. Telling a story will humanize your content, create a productive two-way dialogue, and meet your audience’s needs in the moment. The best part? You’ll look like an expert and master presenter to your audience, which will give them more confidence to buy into what you’re selling.

Whether you’re pitching to retailers, delivering a price increase, communicating supply chain issues, or sharing a product update internally, our storytelling framework will help you communicate better through the eyes of your audience.

Click here to learn more about our business storytelling workshop that has transformed other CPG teams into strategic communicators.