Showing posts with label storytelling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label storytelling. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Story Telling in 2014

Perhaps Gary Vayerchuk is a bit over the top in his presentations on marketing.  

But Gary's presentation has nailed the need for storytelling (and at the same time promoted  his book.)   

It will give you some ideas so it is worth reviewing it. 

Search for it on Slideshare.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Content Marketing for Smaller Players

I've been in the US in recent weeks, so it's some time since my last post.  So let's start back with something good.

My Canadian colleague Martin Waxman recently gave a presentation on content marketing, storytelling and start-ups.  Here's Martin's simple but very effective approach.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Build Stories

The Building of Stories from Big Fish Presentations

This presentation is a wonderful guide to the elements and suspense of storytelling and how a good story can inspire us to act and move forward.

It is worth a read.  Well done to my friends at Big Fish Presentations.  

Click the full screen button for best reading. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

How To Tell A Story The World Will Listen To

Have a good cause, issue or product, convert it to a simple, well told story and the world will listen.

Over Christmas I have been reading books on storytelling by former World Bank executive and Australian author, Stephen Denning.  Recently I blogged about Denning's thoughts on  corporate storytelling and change.  

So how do you construct an effective story that can stimulate people's willingness to change?

A springboard story is one designed to take listeners to a new level of understanding about a change. This type of story can be used to inform, educate or to shake the skeptics out of their complacency or hostility to your new idea. 

According to Denning an effective springboard narrative has seven  parts:

A strong idea
The change idea you communicate is clear and worthwhile aiming for.

The story is about on a real example of success
It can be from a program that tested a new idea, a successful case study from another part of your  organisation, or one from the same industry or a different but nevertheless relevant environment.

Single protagonist
Tell the story from the viewpoint of an individual the audience can relate to.

Date, time and place
Set the boundaries of your success example so people readily see your story’s authenticity.

You only need minimal detail because listeners need mental space to make the leap between what they are hearing  and their own situation.

Have a genuinely happy ending: one that illustrates success in terms of improved outcomes, team work, health, sales, production efficiency or other measures your audience relates to.

End with a visible link back to your central change idea.

Perhaps we should take a leaf from the history books and use stories, as well as the facts and figures of business logic, as we set out to encourage people to accept change.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Make Stories Part of Your Communications Toolkit

PR people have long known the power of stories to engage the media.  However storytelling is becoming an important tool in corporate communications.  Management fads may come and go but stories still resonate with people - even in the workplace.
Denning's book is a guide to corporate storytelling

I'm currently reading The Leader's Guide to Storytelling by former World Bank executive and Australian author Stephen Denning.  

Denning describes the intrinsic power of stories, the range of stories that can further organisational goals, and how to construct  effective narratives in particular situations.

He identifies a corporate communications catalogue of stories that can be used to:
  • Springboard staff into adopting new practices.
  • Introduce a manager and his or her vision.
  • Communicate an organisation's brand to external audiences. 
  • Transmit culture and values throughout an organisation.
  • Pass along knowledge and highlight the benefits of collaboration.
  • Deliberately set out to counter workplace gossip and rumours.

Stories are the language of the human camp.  They have been around 40 000 years and  continue to be as effective today as they were back then.  They work in our personal lives so we as communicators should borrow their power and make it work for us in our work lives.

Denning's book is good guide to story telling so I'll be blogging highlights and practical tips in future posts.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Disney Story Telling Secrets

Recently I heard the Creative Executive of the Disney Company,  Joe Rohde, talk about Disney's approach to turning raw ideas into  commercial success.

The Disney Company has built its success on storytelling to become one of the world's great brands. It uses compelling narratives in film, theme parks, resorts and other ways  to engage global audiences.  And, it has been doing this for generations.

Joe spoke about how Disney translates ideas into reality through themes.

A theme is a simple statement that distills the essence of an idea and infuses it with spirit and feeling. 
Similar to a brand statement but more than a mission statement or key message, a theme is the fundamental building block for the communications and business decisions surrounding a new project.

Once Disney selects a theme it cascades downwards to guide the design and shape of a  project. At a working level it gives Disney's people a framework to add, modify or reject suggestions.

Themes lead to stories.  And here Disney taps into the ancient art of story telling.

Stories help us make sense of the world around about us. They allow us to find the familiar patterns of life.  Joe is quick to add that stories- any story - needs fresh information or insights to keep our interest. 

The stories it selects (within a given theme) and the telling of them make Disney so successful, so different.  They inspire Disney staff to venture into new ways of thinking in pursuit of creative difference.

Disney is continually researching, seeking new information and challenging its people to enter new corridors of thinking rather than ambling down the predictable hallways of the mind. 

So is Disney approach to themes be relevant to you and me?

Perhaps it might encourage us to look for the themes that best sum up what we and companies do.  And to seek out the compelling stories that we can use to engage one another and the wider world.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Selling A City

This past week I have been at the Australian Tourism Exchange. It is the annual gathering where international travel companies come to see what holiday experiences Australia offers global travelers.

Over 1500 Australian companies exhibit in the hope of attracting business. Their brochures are beautiful, their imagery is rich and they offer delegates first class hospitality To exhibit costs money, time and effort. It is an expensive undertaking.

I have been working with a smaller size exhibitor marketing Australia's national capital - Canberra - and its cultural attractions. We don't have the budget to match the efforts of big states and large corporate players. However I'd like to think we compensate by passion for our city and its tourism products And we use the ancient power of the story to sell the City.

While big bucks back the marketing that others do, our promotional efforts are fueled by people, passion and stories. Using that simple but proven mix we hope to strike through the clutter that must swamp international delegates.

It is international marketing on a modest budget: one delegate at a time, one story at a time, one conversion at a time.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Stories: The Key Ingredient for Successful Launches

A launch of a new product, service, idea or campaign can either be just another occasion or like the launch of a rocket heading to the moon it can be an opportunity to inspire.  Too often in the hurly burly of a campaign it is easy to overlook the power and importance of a launch and fail to draw maximum value from it.

A launch provides the chance to introduce new ideas, different ways of working or even to bring forward a new CEO or team.  It can start the telling of a corporate story or continue the telling of a necessary tale.  And it can be a golden opportunity to gather, energise and send forth key supporters to promote your issue.  

Of all the different types of events the launch is one that should be as impactful and emotional as you can possibly make it.  After all if you are not excited about your issue at the outset, then why should anyone else care?  And these days just having one speaker follow another - unless each delivers riveting presentations - is hardly likely to make the grade.  Today audiences expect something novel and compelling.

I have attended two launches in recent weeks - both on similar issues.  One used a standard format with a succession of VIPs speaking in generalities.  The other got real people to share with the audience their personal stories of tragedy, triumph, failure and achievement.   The first was scripted.  The other poured straight from the heart.

Perhaps there is an old lesson to re-learned.  The art and craft of embedding personal stories into a launch should take primetime over the logistics of invitations, catering and other things that can so easily overtake our pre-launch efforts.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Business Reason To Tell Stories

Story telling is the universal language of the human camp.  We have been telling each other stories for 40 000 years.  We use them to motivate, amuse, warn and share information.

Stories are powerful.  Yet are you using them to communicate the good things your organisation does? If not why not?  A story is more powerful than a mission statement, annual report or policy document. 

I recently came across great advice from Alison Esse of the about how  companies can use stories and I thought it is worth sharing with you.  Thanks Alison.


 The best way to pitch storytelling to your organisation is to position the argument as a 'winning  hearts and minds' one - creating an emotional connection to the  organisation, its objectives, goals, strategy and vision rather than  simply a rational one.

 Assuming that no business leader would argue that they didn't want to  create this level of connection, it would be fair then to suggest that  a storytelling approach is really one of the most effective ways of  achieving this.  Since mankind began we have used stories as a  powerful way to transfer knowledge and information, engage and inspire  people and to spark the emotions, stimulate actions or change  attitudes and behaviours. 
It's a necessary and vital part of human  bonding.  

We all tell and hear stories every day of our lives, in and outside the workplace, and harnessed to specific business messages you  can effect the most remarkable changes very swiftly.  The corporate  'story' or journey can be structured and told as a narrative which  makes it easy to understand and believe in (and corporate narratives  should be constructed in the same way as any story narrative), and  validated and nurtured with great stories about employees and  customers to keep it alive and to sustain interest.  Unless leaders  believe that 80-deck Powerpoint presentations can achieve the same  effect, it's a no-brainer!

 It may be a good idea to pitch the idea starting with a great story  about an employee who, faced with a particular dilemma (eg customer- related), took a particular course of action to win the day and make  something happen that has been truly inspiring or beneficial in some way to the business.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Australia's Best Storyteller

On Australia Day I spent three hours with Australia's best storyteller.  I learned tales of struggle and war, romance and misfortune, separation and reunion and looked into the love affairs of millions.
I was visiting the Love and War exhibition at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra where plain words, imagery and everyday objects tell the wartime stories of Australian men and women.

Since 1922 the Memorial has become Australia's best storyteller.  It preserves the memory of 102 000 Australians who died in conflict through the tales of individual servicemen and women, their families, neighbours, workmates and friends. 

The Memorial is among Australia’s most loved institutions and it is simply impossible to just spend a single hour there because its content is so compelling and absorbs both time and total attention.   

The Memorial is unique for a government agency.  While most departments of state communicate through the formal language of bureaucracy, the Memorial let’s the "average bloke" or as Americans say the "ordinary Joe" become the storyteller.   Their letters, souvenirs, keepsakes and imagery provide personal testimony to past battles.  Today we live in an age of celebrity.  But the Memorial has no celebrities.  The most prized of its spaces is the tomb of a single Unknown Soldier rather than monument to any general or world leader and its most popular sculpture is a man and a donkey.

The Memorial holds a lesson for all communicators. Even the most complex communal stories are best told through the words, experiences and emotions of the individual.

(Disclaimer: I sometimes work on PR programs at the Memorial)