What Businesses Can Learn From Holiday Jam

Holiday Jam by Xopher SmithFor the second year in a row, Holiday Jam with the Hegg Brothers rocked the main stage at the Washington Pavilion, and some of us ADwërkers (and our significant others) got to enjoy a killer performance.

While the music was fantastic, I think the biggest takeaway I got from Holiday Jam was the importance of storytelling to the entire night’s events. Specifically, storytelling with a purpose. (This is the part you business owners might want to pay attention to…)

A Stronger Connection

The Holiday Jam crew managed to keep a room full of hundreds of people (not all of whom were diehard “Christmas jazz” fans, I can assure you) entranced throughout the 2+ hour performance. How? Through storytelling.

In between songs, an emcee (John Beranek) would come out and share a joke, explain a song’s significance or simply talk about a band member’s background or personality. Each time he did this, we in the audience were brought in closer and closer to what Holiday Jam was all about. This culminated in a deeper sense of significance than we’d have ever gotten from simply hearing 18 songs in a row and going home.

More Than Just A Story

At one point in the show, John explained how he took a tour of the Sanford Children’s Hospital. Describing the extremely moving and inspiring experience, he talked about the undying optimism of the sick children, even when they don’t get to “live a normal life” like most kids their age. Then he explained how the Children’s Miracle Network offers summer camps for those sick children to attend so they can have that “normal” life experience they rarely—if ever—get to enjoy.

After the entire story had been told, John closed with a heartstring-tugging caveat – the proceeds from the “Holiday Jam” (like, jelly “jam”) on sale in the lobby would go toward the Children’s Miracle Network.

Suddenly, the crowd wasn’t simply buying a $5 jar of jelly. In fact, it wasn’t about the jelly at all. It was about something much bigger and much deeper. Within seconds of the intermission beginning, the Holiday Jam table was overwhelmed with buyers. Not because people were desperate for grape jelly, but because they were now a part of the story behind the sale of Holiday Jam. They, too, were making a difference in the lives of those sick children.

How Are You Using Stories?

All in all, telling the right story makes a difference. Without it, your product or service is just a product or service. But with it, your product or service becomes a part of your customer or client’s life. And that’s where you’ll really find success.

Don’t be afraid to share a little bit of your story with your customers or clients. You’d be surprised at how much stronger the connection becomes when you do.

-Mike B.

Photo by Xopher Smith. Thanks for the photo (and great job jamming), Xopher!

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