Why should Namibian small businesses invest in storytelling?


Have you ever wondered why big brands the world over, like to talk about their origins? How they were founded and by whom?

In Namibia, big corporations like the Ohlthaver & List Group still talks about their founders, how Hermann Ohlthaver and Carl List became business partners in 1919. And how their partnership gave birth to the country’s biggest privately-owned group of companies.

The same with the Indongo Group of Companies. The company always tells the story of its founder, Dr Frans Indongo, a black man from northern Namibia who persevered to build a successful business empire.

Every business – big or small – has a unique story to tell. This is called brand storytelling, a powerful marketing strategy designed to provoke emotional responses from consumers.

Commercial giants across the world have long realised the magic of this strategy, hence they keep telling their origin stories, which helped them build tribes of loyal customers.

Brand storytelling is not confined to big boys only.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can also use the power of business storytelling to grow their brands and build customer loyalty.

We are living in a period where customers are increasingly using the Internet to look for local products and services.

It is unfortunate that small enterprises in Namibia are yet embracing brand storytelling to increase visibility.

They are still heavily reliant on traditional marketing.

On the other hand, your story is how your company stands out from the rest of the pack. It seeks to inspire customer confidence.

By sharing your trials and tribulations in your journey to entrepreneurial success, you are building an emotional connection with customers.

People love and tend to remember good stories.

And by sharing your business story, you are also assuring the customers that “yes I’m the face behind ABC Enterprise. I’m a real person, hardworking and you can trust me”.

With established giants, customers don’t mind who owns Shoprite, Pick n Pay or Woolworth.

Unfortunately, this is not the case with small businesses.

New customers often need assurance that you’re trustworthy before they commit to doing business with you.

Therefore, by sharing your business story, you’re authenticating your business.

There is an old age American-India adage that says “Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever”.

This axiom sums up the magical science of storytelling. That if you want people to remember you, tells them your story, a good story.

In the marketing sense, when customers are familiar with your backstory, they will retain it in their memories until that day when they decide to do business with you.

You’re also creating a strong base of faithful brand ambassadors – customers that will go on to recommending your products or services to their relatives, colleagues, friends or big businesses.

Author: Andreas Thomas