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Storytelling in business


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A presentation that explains the what, why and how of storytelling in business. It's an expanded version of the presentation that I gave at the Digital Marketing for Business Conference in Raleigh, NC in 2013.

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Storytelling in business

  1. 1. What is storytelling in business?
  2. 2. It’s not gossip
  3. 3. It’s creating action & change
  4. 4. The audience can be clients, peers, employees, collaborators, business partners and media channels. In short, everyone.
  5. 5. Storytelling example: A computer company tells a story to its channel partners about why they created a new product or service.
  6. 6. Storytelling example: A company creates a story for media outlets about how a new strategy resulted in top line revenue growth.
  7. 7. Storytelling can be used across disciplines. Marketing, leadership, communications, sales, HR, organizational development, etc.
  8. 8. Storytelling spans media types: web videos, blogs, podcasts, branded content.
  9. 9. Who tells stories? All these companies, and more.
  10. 10. Example: Pepsi used the Uncle Drew series of branded content to popularize Pepsi Max.
  11. 11. Example: Google’s Parisian Love Ad crammed 10 product features into a video less than a minute long, without mentioning the features at all.
  12. 12. Why use storytelling?
  13. 13. It works!
  14. 14. Pepsi Max has over 70M YouTube views for their branded content.
  15. 15. Malaysia Airlines rolled out fastest e-ticketing implementation for a major airline using storytelling.
  16. 16. Cultural Ubiquity Stories exist in every society and transcend racial identity, ideologies, philosophies and religious beliefs.
  17. 17. History Stories have been told visually for tens of thousands of years. e.g. El Castillo paintings in Spain, Lascaux in France.
  18. 18. Historical significance Oral storytelling traditions have existed since the dawn of humankind to transfer knowledge, to teach lessons….
  19. 19. …and yes, to sell stuff.
  20. 20. Socio-cultural constant Storytelling is weaved into who we, as humans are, and is important for passing down traditions and norms.
  21. 21. 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…..
  22. 22. ….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.
  23. 23. 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….
  24. 24. So what are the implications of this research?
  25. 25. We can use stories to motivate behavior.
  26. 26. We can use descriptive and interesting stories to engage our audience and create a strong identity for our businesses.
  27. 27. We can use stories to give meaning to numbers.
  28. 28. We can use stories to lead more effectively.
  29. 29. What kinds of stories can we tell?
  30. 30. Possible story topics: Solving a problem Reason for action Special events Your history or future Your unique people ...tons more
  31. 31. How do we tell good stories? 6 simple rules
  32. 32. 1. Know your audience and tailor your story to them.
  33. 33. “Most people don’t listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply” Stephen Covey Avoid doing this!
  34. 34. 2. Be authentic and truthful.
  35. 35. 3. KISS (Keep it simple and sweet). No need to be complex or try to be epic.
  36. 36. 4. Follow the Story Arc, which is a great basic framework for storytelling.
  37. 37. 5. Allow your personality to shine through – in short, be you.
  38. 38. 6. Be creative and take some risks. Try new things in your storytelling to differentiate yourself.
  39. 39. What do we tell our stories with?
  40. 40. Ideally, all forms of media! Web video, print, website, blog, podcast, etc. Key is to have a consistent story.
  41. 41. Use the channels that already work for you, but be open to exploring other channels.
  42. 42. Why use storytelling?
  43. 43. 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.