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What is
storytelling in
business?
It’s not
gossip
It’s creating action & change
The audience
can be clients,
peers,
employees,
collaborators,
business
partners and
media channels.
In short,
everyone.
Storytelling
example:
A computer
company tells a
story to its channel
partners about why
they created a new
product or service.
Storytelling example:
A company creates a
story for media
outlets about how a
new strategy resulted
in top line revenue
growth.
Storytelling can be used across disciplines.
Marketing, leadership, communications,
sales, HR, organizational development, etc.
Storytelling spans media types: web
videos, blogs, podcasts, branded
content.
Who tells stories? All these
companies, and more.
Example: Pepsi used the Uncle Drew
series of branded content to popularize
Pepsi Max.
Example: Google’s Parisian Love Ad
crammed 10 product features into a video
less than a minute long, without mentioning
the features at all.
Why use
storytelling?
It works!
Pepsi Max has over
70M YouTube views
for their branded
content.
Malaysia Airlines rolled
out fastest e-ticketing
implementation for a
major airline using
storytelling.
Cultural Ubiquity
Stories exist in every society and
transcend racial identity, ideologies,
philosophies and religious beliefs.
History
Stories have been told visually for tens of
thousands of years. e.g. El Castillo paintings
in Spain, Lascaux in France.
Historical significance
Oral storytelling
traditions have existed
since the dawn of
humankind to transfer
knowledge, to teach
lessons….
…and yes, to sell
stuff.
Socio-cultural constant
Storytelling is weaved into
who we, as humans are, and
is important for passing down
traditions and norms.
Scientific explanation
Broca and Wernicke’s
areas in the brain are
related to production
and comprehension of
words. Powerpoint and
hard facts activate these
areas…..
….but when subjects
hear stories, other
parts of brain are
activated. e.g. Motor
cortex activated when
active event is
described, sensory
cortex activated when
descriptive metaphors
are used.
Stories influence listeners
In famous experiment at Princeton
University, brain pattern of listeners was
identical to storyteller’s when she told them a
story!
The point is….
So what are the
implications of
this research?
We can use stories to
motivate behavior.
We can use descriptive and interesting
stories to engage our audience and
create a strong identity for our
businesses.
We can use stories to
give meaning to
numbers.
We can use
stories to lead
more effectively.
What kinds of stories
can we tell?
Possible story topics:
Solving a problem
Reason for action
Special events
Your history or future
Your unique people
...tons
more
How do we tell good stories?
6 simple rules
1. Know your audience and tailor
your story to them.
“Most people don’t listen with
the intent to understand; they
listen with the intent to reply”
Stephen
Covey
Avoid doing this!
2. Be authentic and
truthful.
3. KISS (Keep it simple and sweet). No need
to be complex or try to be epic.
4. Follow the Story Arc, which is a
great basic framework for storytelling.
5. Allow your personality to shine
through
– in short, be you.
6. Be creative and
take some risks. Try
new things in your
storytelling to
differentiate
yourself.
What do we tell our
stories with?
Ideally, all forms of
media! Web video,
print, website,
blog, podcast, etc.
Key is to have a
consistent story.
Use the channels that
already work for you,
but be open to
exploring other
channels.
Why use
storytelling?
Stories humanize us and help us form
connections. In a world where human
connections help us accomplish
everything, storytelling is the most
effective way for us to succeed, whatever
we’re trying to accomplish.

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Storytelling in business

Editor's Notes

  1. What is it? Does it work? Why does it work? What kinds of stories can we tell? How do we tell the story? What do we tell it with?
  2. Not office gossip, watercooler or printer chatter. Not stories about the boss’s family.
  3. Not making fraudulent claims about your product, service, capabilities or financial performance.
  4. Telling stories that move your audience’s hearts and motivate them to act. Connecting with them emotionally so that they change perceptions and thoughts.
  5. Audience can be clients, customers, collaborators, employees, your manager, her manager’s manager, your peers, vendors, business partners, media channels
  6. Examples… if you’re selling computers, story for business partners or channel on why you decided to create new product or service
  7. Media channels - story of how new strategy was created and implemented resulting in top line revenue growth
  8. Various disciplines - Marketing, leadership, communications, sales, human resources, organizational development, finance, public relations, advertising, fund-raising
  9. Various formats and channels – web videos, branded content, TV ads, blogs, podcasts, customer stories, user generated stories
  10. Who uses it? Lots of companies, e.g. those with commodity products – Coca Cola, Pepsi - also BMW, Mercedes, mega-conglomerates – helps differentiate product and brand
  11. Some examples – Pepsi Max branded content with Kyrie Irving.
  12. Google crammed 10 product features into this 53 second video, without mentioning them a SINGLE time
  13. Collectively, Pepsi Max has over 70M YouTube views for their branded content - just on official YouTube channel! Malaysia Airlines example.
  14. Culturally – exist in every society. Good stories transcend racial identity, ideologies, philosophies and religious beliefs.
  15. Historically, pictures have been used to tell stories for tens of thousands of years - El Castillo paintings in Spain, Lascaux in France, aboriginal paintings in Australia
  16. Historically – oral storytelling traditions have existed since the dawn of humankind to transfer knowledge, lessons, messages
  17. and yes.... to sell stuff.
  18. Storytelling is weaved into who we as humans are and is important for conveying knowledge, passing down traditions, morals
  19. Beyond that, has scientific explanation. Broca and Wernicke’s area related to production and comprehension of words – e.g. Powerpoint, hard facts activate these areas
  20. When subjects heard stories, other parts of brain activated. Different parts of brain activated when different things are mentioned e.g.motor cortex when active event is described, sensory cortex activated when descriptive metaphors are used
  21. Most amazingly, experiment at Princeton - brain pattern of listeners was identical to a storyteller’s when she told them a story. That means you can get your audience to think the way you want them to by telling them a good story. Scary stuff!
  22. What are the Implications of this research?
  23. Use stories to motivate the behavior you want from your audience!
  24. Make your stories descriptive and interesting to engage your audience and create a strong identity (example on following slide)
  25. Era of big data - collection, analysis are meaningless unless you paint a story with it. HBR blog post - “data gives you the what, humans give you the why”.
  26. Kimberly-Clark, provides two-day seminars to teach its 13-step program for crafting stories and giving presentations with them. 3M banned bullet points and replaced them with a process of writing “strategic narratives.” P&G has hired Hollywood movie directors to teach its senior executives how to lead better with storytelling. And some of the storytellers at Motorola belong to outside improvisational or theater groups to hone their story skills. Nike- execs are corporate storytellers.
  27. 1.How you or your company helped someone solve a problem- case study or customer testimonial 2.Why you did something you did - new product, service... new strategy. Something special - involved in new non-profit campaign, etc. 3.Talk about your company’s past and vision for its future 4.Talk about your employees and their involvement in the community
  28. First rule – Know your audience and tailor your story to them!
  29. Second rule - be authentic! It’s storytelling that tells the tale of your company’s strengths, weaknesses, vision and everything else that makes it unique. It sends out a consistent message, externally, internally and across all levels of your organization. Using your own unique voice i.e. don’t try to sound like someone you’re not. It’s truthful. No lies, no embellishments, no fabrications.
  30. Third rule – Keep it simple! Doesn’t have to be epic like Star Wars,
  31. Fourth rule - Follow basic guideline of storytelling – narrative arc or story arc
  32. Fifth rule - Allow your personalities to shine through – people you work with are fun, but the marketing seems a bit stiff
  33. Sixth rule - Be creative, be descriptive – your opportunity to distinguish yourself
  34. Ideally, all forms of media! Transmedia storytelling – web video, print, website, blog, podcast, etc. - ensure consistency of message
  35. Use the channels that already work for you, but be open to exploring other channels
  36. Ingrained into who we are as humans. Has scientific explanation. Works! e.g. Pepsi, Shangri La, Google, etc.
  37. Stories humanize us and help us form connections. In a world where human connections help us accomplish everything, storytelling is the most effective way for us to succeed, whatever we’re trying to accomplish.