"Have you ever looked at your marketing materials and thought, “that’s not really me?” Been there. In fact, my (thankfully last) resume comes to mind. And, oddly, my mind wandered a bit, thinking how most marketing materials similarly fail to tell us what’s really unique about a brand."
Well, I am embarrassed to admit this, but the author of Story Works, Sharlene Sones, asked me to review her new e-book months ago -- and I am just now getting to it. My apologies Sharlene! But better late than never I guess.
I love this book. For several reasons:
Size & readabililty -- this book is constructed so you can easily flip through it. And it is laid out so it is easy to read and digest. Perfect! I can't tell you how many posts and e-books I ignore because the layout makes it too hard to read. And I wouldn't want to subject you to that either. Sharlene's book is a breeze to walk through.
Content -- Sharlene does a masterful job at guiding us through the business applications of story. She touches on everything from marketing/branding, unique proposition, sales, to leadership, culture, career development, and back. Whew! That's a lot of territory to cover. But she does it well.
Sharlene explains how story will make a difference in these areas -- and WHY it does. And she gives us tips for using story in several applications. As a bonus, there are lots of story quotes to add to your list, along with examples from companies to make her points.
What I particularly like is her focus on story as conversation -- and that story sharing is where the real leverage is in org story work.
I may quibble a bit on some of Sharlene's points -- are testimonials really stories? Depends on the definition you use. For me, not so much. But the bulk of Sharlene's material is so right on, I am not going to be so picky.
Sharlene also tackles 'engagement' as a topic and brings to light the story dynamics involved in that. I think there is still a lot to learn about storytelling and engagement in business, but this gives us a good start.
I wish there had been more focus on listening, too. Implied in Sharlene's book is how transformative stories can be in business. A lot of what she talks about is story at the transactional level -- even when story provides inspiration and meaning. For example -- when a business is really in the story groove, stories have the potential to change both the teller and listener. Story as transformation in business is the next frontier I think.
I could say more, but I'm running out of space. This book is inspirational and a good kick in the pants for bringing story into your core business activities. If you want a great e-book primer on business storytelling, this is it.
If you want to go deeper, dig into the books by Annette Simmons and Steve Denning.
You do have to buy this book. But you can also download a chapter for free. I have absolutely no affiliation with Sharlene other than we are colleagues and both went to grad school at the Univ. of Pennsylvania.
This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it