In the earliest days of civilization, before the advent of alphabets and written languages, stories important to a group of people (a family, tribe, etc.) were handed down by storytellers. These people, often held in the highest regard within their social groups, were directly responsible for saving, sharing and passing on the important history of their people.

This continued even with the coming of alphabets and the written word. Oral storytellers became historians that, with chisel and stone, papyrus and later paper and ink, collected, archived and shared important stories. And the trend continues in our digital age. When you think about it, many aspects of social media are simply storytelling that reside on digital platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The power of storytelling is alive and well. Is your bank or credit union taking advantage of this art when it comes to sharing its own unique story? If not, you are missing out on a powerful marketing and branding tool.

Consumers are attracted to the stories of others. Often these come in the form of testimonials. If you think about it for a minute, you can likely come up with a quick list of consumers that, for a variety of reasons, are happy to be a part of your bank or credit union. Maybe you were able to save someone a chunk of change with a lower interest rate. Or perhaps you were able to offer a second-chance checking account to someone recovering from financial calamity like divorce or bankruptcy. Or maybe it’s simply a lifetime relationship with a member (or a family) that has existed for decades.

Point being — there is power to the stories. Far more power than simply slapping up a bullet-point list of product features. You might convince a few consumers to read a list of features, but the benefits (as told in their stories) are far more convincing forms of marketing and branding.

So tell your story. Be unique to who you are as a financial institution. Harvest and share the stories of your consumers and leverage them as powerful tools to attract and retain new members and customers. It doesn’t matter if we’re telling stories around the campfire or sharing them digitally online. The core subject matter is the same — and the subject matter is the powerful and unique story of your bank or credit union.

Great examples of this consumer story-telling ideal are seen at Prime Financial FCU, First Abilene FCU and Darden CU.