It’s hard to think of a commercial website that could not be enhanced with client testimonials or case histories, which are real-world stories about how your company or product solved a problem for a client. When effectively written, these factual accounts read like a story, with a main character, a plot and a resolution.

But what about fictionalized stories? Do stories about people who aren’t real or events that didn’t actually happen have a place on your website or advertisement?

The answer is a resounding, “maybe.” The first consideration is an ethical matter. Will the reader or visitor know that the story is fictional?

Think about all the ads you watch on television or see in magazines. Most ads use fictional characters who encounter a real life problem. In other words, you the viewer, know you are watching an actor playing a part and know you are watching an advertiser dramatize the benefits of its product in a story-like format.

We are a commercially savvy culture now, and we intuitively know we are watching a fictional story that depicts a person with a problem being solved by the advertiser’s product.

In the same way, a story may be very effective way to communicate the benefits of your product or service on your ad or website. Here’s what I mean. There are probably a couple of hundred books like the One Minute Manager series, that convey a non-fiction message, but use fictionalized characters and events to communicate these lessons.

If you read these books, you understand the story is fiction. But the message being delivered is real. These books are very effective teaching tools simply because we tend to pay closer attention to a story that we do to a dry book of non fiction.

Your fictionalized case history would do the same. Sometimes people have difficulty grasping benefits, so you solve this problem by dramatizing both the problem and the solution using fictional characters and situations.

Your fictionalized case history shows a person with a problem that your company solves. This person is seen grappling with a real headache until your company comes to the rescue, the problem is solved and the headache goes away.

Do your readers or visitors think this story is real? No, but they do believe that the story is realistic. It is realistic because your company does solve real problems just like this one.

COPYRIGHT © 2006, Charles Brown


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