Get Your Story Out ThereUsing Stories to Differentiate Your Offering     Network in Austin – November 2011                ...
Why stories?Image courtesy of Anna Cervova (http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/)   © True Story Communication 2011 - 2012
Why stories?      “Storytelling is one of the few human traits that [is] truly universal                          across c...
Why stories?      Marketing research – and brain research –     indicate that stories affect decision-making.             ...
Why stories?    Stories are efficient packages for information    – and they create a shared experience.                  ...
Why stories?• Uniqueness – Your competitors may share  your strengths – but not your stories.• Persuasiveness – Stories fo...
What makes a good story?               “Act I: Get your hero up a tree.                 Act II: Throw rocks at him.       ...
What makes a good story?           # 3. Narrative structure           # 2. Senses and emotions           # 1. Audience rel...
Which Stories?• Customer success stories• Testimonials about you or your offering• Anecdotes that provide insight into you...
Which stories?            Capture               How capture?            Store                      Who access?            ...
Resources“The Secrets of Storytelling,” by Jeremy Hsu. Scientific AmericanMind, August/September 2008“Creating Preference,...
I’d love to hear how you’re getting your          stories out there; get in touch!                            Julie Wicker...
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  • Think about three strengths you or your organization offer. Do your competitors share these strengths?Whether you are an employee, a business owner, or a job seeker, you know the value of what you have to offer. Yet you’re competing in an increasingly sophisticated environment. For most of us, it’s a crowded marketplace, and it’s tricky to stand out in the crowd. You probably rely on a Web presence to connect with colleagues, clients, prospective clients, or potential employers. That’s where stories can come in. Your stories – your organization’s stories – are unique; they distinguish you from your competitors.Example: Hart InterCivic, votingequipment manufacturer with a story to tell(full story here: http://bit.ly/uf9gRC)Major client, Harris County (third-largest county in U.S.): pre-dawn fire end of August – Election Day Nov 2nd; early voting October 18th – Governor’s race. How is this huge jurisdiction going to deliver an equitable election that complies with all federal and state legal requirements in that timeframe?Hart’s Dirof Ops got the pre-dawn call and within hours, he and sales exec were standing beside Harris County’s Administrator of Elections.By that afternoon, the group had a strategy in place for borrowing, renting, and replacing the equipment in time for the election.At the emergency Commissioners’ Court meeting the following Monday, the first words out of the County Clerk’s mouth were, ‘We are going to be able to do this without closing any polling places.” The assembled crowd literally gasped!Harris County accounts for 20 percent of the total vote in Texas. Helping the county have a successful election became a community project.Other counties loaned equipment, and Hart geared up for production – Hart had five weeks to build what normally takes five months of production time.You can see how this story gives Hart talking points that they can use in a variety of settings.
  • “Anthropologists find evidence of folktales everywhere in ancient cultures, written in Sanskrit, Latin, Greek, Chinese, Egyptian, and Sumerian. People in societies of all types weave narratives, from oral storytellers in hunter-gatherer tribes to the millions of writers churning out books, television shows, and movies. And when a characteristic behavior shows up in so many different societies, researchers pay attention: its roots may tell us something about our evolutionary past.”
  • A 2007 study by marketing researcher Jennifer Edson Escalas of Vanderbilt University found that a test audience responded more positively to advertisements in narrative form as compared with straightforward ads that encouraged viewers to think about the arguments for a product. Studies such as these suggest people accept ideas more readily when their minds are in story mode as opposed to when they are in an analytical mindset.Recent “neuroeconomics” studies show that emotions play a larger part in decision-making than analytical thinking. One study – 20 men/women got brain scan while gambling. Given same information about odds of winning, but framed in positive and negative ways (probability of winning vsprob of losing) – brain scans indicated that those with positive framing had activity in part of brain that processes positive emotions, and a greater percentage of them decided to gamble. And vice versa. http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/discoveries/2006-08-06-brain-study_x.htm“Numbers numb, jargon jars, and nobody ever marched on Washington because of a pie chart. If you want to connect with your audience, tell them a story.” - Andy Goodman, former sitcom writer who teaches storytelling to nonprofits. http://www.agoodmanonline.com/red.html.
  • What do you learn about the vendor company through the Harris County story? The story is an efficient package for information.
  • A compelling story has a hero (protagonist), a challenge, and a resolution. In the Harris County story, who is the protagonist? What is the challenge? What is the resolution? How does this apply to your own stories?
  • The top 3 elements that make a good story?# 3. Use narrative structure; a story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. But not necessarily in that order. Sometimes starting in the middle helps grab your audience immediately.#2. Paint a picture. Engage the reader’s senses – and emotions. But remember, you’re telling your story to persuade, not to entertain. So don’t transport your reader too far with your descriptive powers.#1. Most important factor about whether a story is compelling is whether it’s meaningful to the audience. Understand the audience’s concerns and touch on them with your story. Example – Harris County story. What is the #1 concern of an elections official?
  • Think in terms of messaging. What messages do you want to convey about your essential assets? For an organization, this is your people, your processes, your knowledge, and your technology.
  • Planning is the key to an effective story initiative.Capture – Planning your story-gathering process starts with thinking about the messages you want to convey. Next, think about where and how you can collect the stories. Store – Who will use the stories you gather? Based on your key messages, how will you categorize or index (tag) your stories?Showcase – Will your stories appear as written or video testimonials or case studies on your website? Will they be talking points in sales meetings or job interviews?
  • I’d love to hear from you! Visit my website, and let me know how I can help you.
  • Get your story out there

    1. 1. Get Your Story Out ThereUsing Stories to Differentiate Your Offering Network in Austin – November 2011 Presented by: Julie Wickert True Story Communication julie@truestorycommunication.com
    2. 2. Why stories?Image courtesy of Anna Cervova (http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/) © True Story Communication 2011 - 2012
    3. 3. Why stories? “Storytelling is one of the few human traits that [is] truly universal across culture and through all of known history. And stories have a unique power to persuade and motivate, because they appeal to our emotions and capacity for empathy.” --“The Secrets of Storytelling,” Jeremy Hsu. Scientific American Mind, August/September 2008. © True Story Communication 2011 - 2012
    4. 4. Why stories? Marketing research – and brain research – indicate that stories affect decision-making. © True Story Communication 2011 - 2012
    5. 5. Why stories? Stories are efficient packages for information – and they create a shared experience. © True Story Communication 2011 - 2012
    6. 6. Why stories?• Uniqueness – Your competitors may share your strengths – but not your stories.• Persuasiveness – Stories form emotional responses, connections, and a receptive state of mind.• Efficiency – A story makes complex information memorable and portable. © True Story Communication 2011 - 2012
    7. 7. What makes a good story? “Act I: Get your hero up a tree. Act II: Throw rocks at him. Act III: Bring him down.” Robert McKee, screenwriting instructor to 26 Academy Award winners and 125 Emmy Award winners © True Story Communication 2011 - 2012
    8. 8. What makes a good story? # 3. Narrative structure # 2. Senses and emotions # 1. Audience relevance © True Story Communication 2011 - 2012
    9. 9. Which Stories?• Customer success stories• Testimonials about you or your offering• Anecdotes that provide insight into your character or your organization’s culture• Others? © True Story Communication 2011 - 2012
    10. 10. Which stories? Capture How capture? Store Who access? How categorize?Showcase What message? Where? Planning is key. © True Story Communication 2011 - 2012
    11. 11. Resources“The Secrets of Storytelling,” by Jeremy Hsu. Scientific AmericanMind, August/September 2008“Creating Preference,” by Terry R. Bacon, Ph.D. APMPProposalManagement, Fall/Winter 2002Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles ofScreenwriting, by Robert McKeeThe Hero with a Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell © True Story Communication 2011 - 2012
    12. 12. I’d love to hear how you’re getting your stories out there; get in touch! Julie Wickert True Story Communication julie@truestorycommunication.com 512-914-6882 Twitter: @juliewickert

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