Storytelling is never mentioned in this article, but it is all about storytelling in business.
I so appreciate the author's point that being perfect -- giving that perfect presentation; telling that story absolutely perfectly -- has changed. Being a recovering perfectionist, I say "Thank heavens!"
For years as I've worked with leaders I have practically abandoned the perfect polished story, realizing that authenticity and realism will go much farther.
So you flub up a bit in telling a story. Your audience will appreciate your humanism.
As the author Rohit Bhargava says, just be yourself. You will have more fun and make a bigger impact.
There are lots of good insights and take-aways from this article so go take the time to read it. It's short and a nice emotional boost. Enjoy!
Brady Josephson: Fibers of Storytelling (and Not Sucking)Huffington Post (blog)Mitch Joel calls this doing justice to your brand narrative. Scott Stratten says this is being awesome, not unawesome.
Karen Dietz's insight:
What kind of a foundation does your business (for profit or nonprofit) need in order for your storytelling to really work?
According to this article, it's 4 things: like doing great work and proving it. And demonstrating a love of customers/donors/supporters.
Makes sense to me. What the article is saying is that businesses have to be able to walk their talk. Alignment between the stories they tell and how the business actually operates is critical for believability and authenticity.
So before you get on the storytelling bandwagon, make sure you are really ready to start the process by doing an internal check first.
"Being of a slightly contrarian frame of mind, however, I think it’s important that we remind ourselves that stories do have limits, and excessive reliance on them can weaken our persuasive efforts, especially when our listeners start probing a little deeper to find the real truth behind them."
I like how the author Jack Malcolm starts out his blog. Yes, stories can be deceptive just like any other form of communication.
And I agree with his first point: they may be untrue or exaggerated.
After that however, I put my cranky pants on.
The next point advocates is that stories are ALWAYS incomplete; that nuance and complexity get in the way of a good story.
Balderdash I say!! What about the creation of rich media,layered meanings, and multiple interpretations?
The next point is equally problematic: stories may be true, but insufficient; that the more vivid and compelling a story, the more it can mislead because the listener focuses in on the details instead of the larger picture.
Aaaarrrgghh! All that says to me is that when that happens, the teller is not that skilled in storytelling and the crafting of co-created meanings which speak to a larger picture.
Bottom line for all of us?Keep learning the craft of storytelling.Know how to layer multiple meanings into your biz stories when needed. Keep drawing out the bigger picture in your stories when needed. And be authentic.
A very good friend of mine, Real Estate Coach Darin Persinger wrote a post this week called Storytelling Isn’t Marketing poking some holes into how we can be quite guilty of buying in to the ‘new shiny tool’ or in this case the ‘new shiny idea’.
This post is from author Teri Conrad and is an excellent reminder of how storytelling is re-shaping marketing. Teri makes great points here:
Success in marketing is about applying systems and following through. Even if you have compelling stories, without a system very little is going to happen.
People buy the Why of your product/service, not the What (features).
Embody the "what can I give?" perspective.
Focus on creating fabulous experiences for customers/clients.
Know and communication your purpose -- get clear on that.
Points 2-5 are all about how you frame your stories and then convey them. I would add one more -- make sure you are authentic!
Using stories in your marketing can be very powerful. Follow these principles to ensure success with your business storytelling.
Now go read the full article for all the other insights to be gained here :)
We use web browsers every day and don’t really think about them until something goes wrong. Google Chrome crashed on me the other day and I got the iconic “Aw, Snap!” page with the unhappy folder icon. Instead of being cross at the error, it made me smile, and I was more forgiving of the browser for crashing. This is an example of how personality can engage customers’ emotions and help them build a stronger relationship with your brand.
What a great article! It is all about the risks and rewards of developing your brand with personality.
Why should you bother? Because once again, it is all about emotionally connecting with your customers/prospects. It is giving them an experience. It is using the 'character' story element for creating effective biz stories to the max.
The authors give terrific examples and lay out for us step-by-step the reasons and actions to take for developing a brand personality.
Oh, and BTW -- it is not about creating a veneer or fakepersonality just to make sales. It truly is all about the authentic YOU.
Enjoy reading this post. I think you will find it enormously helpful as you continue to craft the personality of your business.
I love paradox, as anyone can tell from the name of the research center that I run with John Seely Brown in Silicon Valley – the Center for the Edge. Paradox is basically a puzzle, often juxtaposing two elements that...
This post by John Hagel goes under the category of "Thinking better about biz storytelling."
Sharing stories builds trust. This is a wonderful thing. But as John shares, it's a double-edge sword. Here's the paradox the author discusses: "In a nutshell, here’s the paradox. Everyone thinks that trust is important. Yet, at the same time, trust in individuals and institutions is eroding."
What does this mean to you as you share your business stories? "It turns out that the very practices that helped us to build trust in the past are now contributing to the erosion of trust," says Hagel.
He then discusses new approaches to building trust: vulnerability, will, being forward-looking, and others.
This article is a must read to be able to respond to today's always shifting business landscape. And so can more consciously work with your stories to keep you successful.
A brand can no longer afford to simply trade on an idea of what it stands for. Instead, in this era of radical transparency, a brand must be willing to tell the story of what it’s actually doing.
Yep -- storytelling without living the story is inauthentic. Business storytelling has to be authentic or you are doomed. You've got to have a story. But then you actions and story have to match up to generate authenticity.
Read this article for a really good discussion about branding, storytelling and walking the talk. Otherwise your storytelling is just another form of vaporware.
Billy Joel’s schmaltzy ballad “Honesty” spoke the truth back in 1979.
I really like this post because it is all about the quality of authenticity -- and not worrying about being perfect!
Authenticity is the heart and soul of business storytelling. This post uses rock bands to talk about this. As the author says, "There was a point, only a few years ago, where having a solid rock star brand meant covering up every wart and imperfection."
And, "A point to consider about honesty in branding: We human beings are wonderfully imperfect creatures, and we can only relate and bond with other wonderfully imperfect creatures."
Dare to be honest, authentic, and imperfect in your stories and story sharing. It will make you much more human and relatable :)
"Bill Baker (no relation) is nicer than I am, so don't pin any of my introduction on him. I recently spoke to an auditorium of C-level executives, and the title of my presentation was long but revealing: "The Happy Death of Branding, the Next Fad of Storytelling, and the Hopeful Rise of Alignment."
I guess that expresses my view of branding: there are a few firms really doing it, and the rest (and majority) aren't doing anything differently than they did before, but now they are calling it branding because it sounds upstream."
What a great post this is about how storytelling can easily get mucked-up when it gets labeled as 'branding' -- especially when most never receive any formal training in storytelling or understand it dynamics.
I love it when the interviewer says, "Real storytelling is a very complex skill, and I can sit for days listening to Bill point out the subtleties involved."
The rest of the article is a recap of an interview with Bill Baker who has decades of experience in corporate storytelling and who you can tell, knows his stuff. Bill talks about the difference between storytelling and strategic storytelling -- and then gives how-to steps for making sure this is happening.
Go read the rest of the article for great insights about how to do 'strategic storytelling' with your company.
In this video post, Yamini Naidu explores the importance of authenticity in business storytelling. Why do your stories need to be both factually true and authentically true?
I love this short (4+ minute) video on authenticity in business storytelling. When we are surrounded by hype and spin in our political, business, and entertainment worlds, getting clear on the power of sharing authentic business stories is critical for success.
There are great tips in this article for telling your story and marketing your organization. These are lessons from the non-profit world that apply directly to entrepreneurs and small businesses who don't have big budgets to work with.
Learn to share your vision, create your unique and authentic voice, all without breaking the bank.
I just reviewed an article about corporate culture and storytelling that creates engagement. Now here's an article about the other side of the coin: having a great story to tell with nothing to back it up with. In other words, your customer service or internal processes suck so bad, your story turns worthless.
Written by my colleague Sean Buvala, this is well worth the reminder that the "lure of story" is seductive, but don't go there unless you can walk your talk.
"Do you remember the controversy when the book “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman came out?
The idea that variables other than pure intellectual horsepower could have the same or even more impact on one’s success triggered quite a dialogue."
Karen Dietz's insight:
Storytelling in leadership is nothing new. But what I like about this article is how the author Lou Hoffman pulls together several pieces of information to make some worthy points.
Like the distinction between direct and indirect leadership and where hypocrisy happens. And where entrepreneurs play that makes them so successful. At the heart of both is where authenticity and storytelling reside.
Then Hoffman adds another twist. Since he opened his article talking about Daniel Goleman's book "Emotional Intelligence", he closes his article talking about the uniqueness of Goleman's About Page on his website.
This fits perfectly into the aricle I curated yesterday on About Pages! Take the tips here from Hoffman's article, and then go do what Goleman did.
In doing so you will touch both the science and art of storytelling -- and be more successful as a result.
The Friday after Thanksgiving, stores will have major sales, and customers will flock to them in droves.
Karen Dietz's insight:
Now here's a story about a company creating a different kind of story and brand for itself. Instead of jumping into the holiday shopping frenzy -- especially on the recent Black Friday -- Holstee went dark.
It's there version of the new black :) But it beautifully fit their values and what the company stands for.
This type of step might not be you. However, it is a terrific example of how a company is acting on its values -- and creating a new kind of story and brand for itself.
So I ask you -- no matter what size your business is -- how can youtranslate your values and what you stand for into a story about the biz that distinguishes you in the marketplace?
"Despite working in marketing for more than 10 years, let me first share this rare point of view among people in my industry: a lot of marketing actually IS complete BS."
Hallelujah! Finally someone is calling a spade a spade. We periodically need articles like this to keep us on the straight and narrow path. And to make sure we are continuing to build credibility instead of undermining it with our stories.
Is all marketing BS? No. Are all stories BS? No.
However, is it starting to feel like marketing and busines stories are BS? Yes.
Lack of authenticity ("I can make stuff up or evade the issue to sway you").
A focus on persuasion (If you do X you will receive Y) instead of influence (engagement, inspiration, truth telling).
The inability to walk the talk -- that means living/embodying the biz stories being told.
All this leads, as the author Rohit Bhargava points out, to distrust and a believability crisis.
So what is a conscientious biz storyteller to do? Follow the tips suggested here. Read the article for all the insights and tips.
Oh and BTW -- despite what this article and Saturday Night Live say, and as campy/hokey as that commerical is, I get a thrill from Brad Pitt!
Nick Morgan, CEO of Public Words, explains five key steps to engage any audience....
Wow -- what a great, simple, full of how-to tips3 minute video on creating a great presentation.
Everyone has trouble with presentations. But if you follow Nick's steps, many of your challenges will be solved. I really like the 5 story categories he shares and his translation of those stories into business themes. Makes tons of sense.
Of course I like that he leads with 'Tell a story." I repeatedly find that when a speaker can tell a story, then issues of body language, expressions, tension, and fear of forgetting what he/she wants to say all lessen or disappear.
So start there and follow the rest of the tips for a winning presentation.
People are people. They aren’t brands. When people become “brands,” they stop being people and become one of three things: vessels for cultural archetypes, characters in a narrative, or products. … Can you realistically remain “authentic” and real once you have surrendered yourself to a process whose ultimate aim is to drive a business agenda?
I'm right there with author Kat Hansen, Oliver Blanchard, Gregg Morris and other colleagues on this topic.
Effective business storytelling is all about authenticity. It is easy to cross the line into fakery when your story is so objectified it becomes disconnected from reality.
Go read this great article, take the insights to heart, and stay real.
”Why should people buy these expensive coats?” “Well Brian, we think people are really looking for authenticity…”. “But in these days of austerity aren’t you taking a big risk?” “Well Brian we think authenticity is really what people want to pay for these days.” “But if they can save money do you think people…?” “It’s all about the authenticity Brian, these are Authentic Made In Canada Coats.”
Ahhhh -- a cautionary tale for us all! Or in other words -- when 'authenticity' goes bad.
Here's the deal: authenticity is NOT the message, it's the outcome. It's the result. It's the goal. 'Authenticity' is not what makes these coats unique -- it is something else and that is what the company needs to articulate.
The way this company is using the word 'authenticity' is just so much hyperbole. It's at the same level of saying "We are great! Our coats are great! Buy them because they are great! They are great because we are great!" Oh please.
Read this short post with more insights from the author, and please, never ever do what this company is doing. Good grief -- what are they thinking?? Well, obviously they are not....
The parallel can be drawn to a compelling brand narrative. A good story is transcendant, no matter what the medium, the time, the place, or the way we engage with it. Which leads to the next question.
LOL -- I couldn't resist sharing this pearl of wisdom with you from author Joel Derksen:
Brands are for cows. Stories are for people.
We need to continue to get smart about marketing our businesses using stories so we can grow and prosper. Enjoy reading the rest of this article about the real connection between branding and storytelling.
This will eliminate any confusion you may have about 'brand storytelling' and help keep you on the path of sharing your authentic stories to grow your business.
What a beautiful blog post with an important cautionary tale -- stories or storytelling is not the cure for every problem in business.
Author Bob Kanegis has given us food for thought here about treating our stories with respect, knowing when to NOT tell stories, plus keeping the magic and mystery of stories alive in our frenetic hyped-up world.
Enjoy this lovely post, take a breath, and bring balance back into your story activities.
In August, I had several speaking engagements in Buenos Aires, around the theme of using storytelling in branding and e-marketing. As always, one of my central themes was that many of the principles I use in leadership ...
The author contrasts how Margaret Thatcher used her personal stories to great effect as a leader, and how IKEA as an organization does the same. Good examples and insights are shared here.
The culture of storytelling within a corporation can enhance and increase engagement, motivation and help people envision outcomes.
This article is about sharing your stories internally in your company. Whether you are an entrepreneur, a one-person show, or a small business, you either have employees or vendors. Sharing your company stories with these folks builds engagement, trust, reputation, and loyalty.
Read this article for insights on ways to share your stories that create engagement. There are good examples here!