The value of storytelling

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Last week I had the pleasure of attending a module of The International Selling Programme, developed and delivered by my colleagues at Genoa Black for Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International to give guidance to complex internationally focused oil and gas companies based in the North East.

This second module of four, aimed to develop the group of oil and gas executives’ insight into, and strategies for, developing international sales strategies in particular relation to agents and distributors in oversees territories.

As Brand Director at Genoa Black based in Edinburgh, offering both brand and marketing expertise for SMEs all over Scotland I am often asked to develop international marketing strategies for my largely non-oil and gas clients; those who are looking to enter new markets, those who are diversifying in existing markets or those who have an ambition but don’t know where to start.  Being able to attend part of a course such as ISP was invaluable for my own learning and which I will now be able to impart to clients in other sectors, outwith oil and gas.

However, whilst the topics, insights and tips that were expounded on the course by my colleagues were of course excellent and able to transcend sectors, it was actually the practical insights divulged by other attendees that was, for me, incredibly insightful.  Which then got me thinking about the value and benefits of peer learning, not just in an official training course capacity but everyday in the office, with colleagues, and with the clients and peers I spend time with:

  1. It’s obviously more, relaxed, fun, social not to mention removing the loneliness of decision making when you share your experiences with others. Peer learning gives you access to people who may be going through, or have been through the same experiences and challenges, to help guide your own future strategies or see things from a different perspective
  2. It increases focus as you are reliant on others and vice versa so concentration is often heightened in peer learning situations
  3. It helps you develop your own strengths as a collaborative approach helps members hone in on their strengths as they teach others leading to increased productivity and higher achievement
  4. It develops interpersonal skills further, networking opportunities and gives you practical examples of real situations to learn from and use in your own work
  5. Most importantly for me, you are more likely to understand and recall topics that have been shared - research has shown that complex ideas can be processed more easily when communicated via a range of sources not just directly by a teacher.  

As with storytelling, which most successful brands use in their marketing and that I develop for clients on a daily basis in my brand role at Genoa Black, peer learning helps to embed knowledge further into your memory. This is useful internally but hugely fundamental in helping to reach and connect with your customers.

For more information on how I can develop your brand story, whatever your sector, please get in touch – and for more information on The International Selling Programme please contact