What a great article! It is really focused on 6 steps that create the conditions for your ideas to spread.
And guess what -- storytelling and/or story triggers play a key role.
This post, written by Marina Krakovsky, talks about the new book by Jonah Berger called Contagious: Why Things Catch On.
Berger points out that Malcolm Gladwell in his book the Tipping Point is only half right; and that Chip Heath, author of Made To Stick really is only focusing on memorability. Both authors make incredibly valuable points and share valid insights.
But Berger focuses on what makes messages get passed along to others. His 6 elements are STEPPS: Social currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical value, and Stories.
I love the point he makes about stories and emotions. Just because your story contains emotions does not mean it will get passed on. "We'll remember the story because it's sad," Berger explains, "but we’re not going to share it."
Will reading Berger's book and applying his STEPPS make you rich and famous? Maybe not. As he says, "But will applying them make it more likely that 10 people will hear about it rather than 9, or that your sales will increase by 20 or 40%? Certainly.”
There's a lot more to this article, so go read it.
Thank you Marina for writing such a great review. And I look forward to reading Berger's book.
Some descendants of Holocaust survivors are having their concentration-camp numbers tattooed on their arms, a practice that provokes mixed reactions and a lot of conversation.
While this article is not directly related to business, it is a terrific example of a story trigger. When I write about story triggers, people often ask "What the heck is a story trigger?"
A story trigger is an icon, art work, symbol, phrase, or artifact that reminds people of a story and stimulates the telling of one. Sometimes a company's logo can be a trigger story.
This article is a perfect example of a story trigger. Once you read this very powerful post, you will understand the power of story triggers.
Corporate cultures and the story fields that they hold, are full of stories that are known and repeated throughout the organization. Many of these are important to keep and promote. They are gems that lend themselves to story triggers. Sometimes a company's values, vision, and mission could benefit from story triggers (although most values, vision and mission statements are deadly dull, not memorable, and need to be storified).
Hopefully this article will spark some ideas about how you can start developing and using story triggers in your work/business/corporate culture.
Thank you to colleague Lori Silverman for finding this and sending it to me!
Transactional Storytelling is the construction of a story through the trade and repurposing of images and image sequences. The intention behind it is using the retail experience to elicit a consumer dialog that boosts empathy and provides meaningful moments.
Now here's a new development for you: environmental storytelling in retail spaces. It's not about Earth Day or messages about the environment. It's about well-crafted storied spaces. Think of stage sets combined with scripts, sounds, and aromas to create an enhanced customer experience. It's wrapping people in a story and delivering a message at the same time.
It's also about using story triggers effectively, although that is not directly talked about in this post.
Of course, this really isn't that new. Walt Disney and his Imagineers have been masters of building stories via physical structures/environments for decades (Disneyland, etc.). And the Vancouver company Envisioning and Storytelling has been creating these storied environments for real estate sales offices for quite a long time now too.
Now retail is getting into the picture in a bigger way. Not sure how all this is going to work out -- is it really storytelling?? -- but it's interesting to watch. So stay tuned!
"As Beth Kanter remarked on a public Google Plus thread about creating useful infographics, “I think that information visualization is a necessity in this age of data overload and seeing the forest beyond the trees.” I agree with that statement, and personally jump to view the “shiny new storytelling toy” whenever I see an infographic. Infographics represent an exciting new storytelling avenue for nonprofit organizations, enabling them to share important data stories, visually."
I don't know how I missed this post by colleague and fellow curator Debra Askanase but it's a good one!
Debra makes the point that infographics can and should tell a story. She then gives tips on how to do so and resources to use.
And I love the infographic at the top of the article! It's a perfect example of one that blends both data and storytelling elements.
What are the story elements an infographic can use to be more effective?
It needs to be emotionally engaging in ways that offer people a way to make a difference
A beginning, middle & end with a story arc
Statement of a problem and ways for resolution
Story triggers -- graphics and words that trigger stories within the minds of viewers
A point, a key message
Suggested actions to take
Not all infographics need to tell a story. Before embarking on creating an infographic, ask yourself the following strategic questions:
Who is my target audience?
What important information does my target audience need or want to hear?
Is the purpose of the infographic to share information, educate people, or create a context for understanding an issue?
Is the purpose of the infographic to spark action -- either donations, support, or advocacy?
What is my key message? What do I want my viewers to take away from the experience?
If you answered YES to #4, then you need your infographic to tell a story. If you answered YES to #3, then your infographic only needs to convey information.
Go read the article for more great infographic insights.
If you look back across the history of mankind, storytelling has played a vital role in propagating culture, from community to community, across generations.
I'm a little late in curating this article, but I'm glad I waited because when paired with another recent article in this collection, you'll get a double-whammy of ideas and tips.
Let's start first with this article. I like how the author lays out the importance of storytelling in advertising. And when he says, "In the strictest sense, a story has a narrative ark, a beginning, middle and end; however in advertising we can be looser in our definition" he's actually talking about using story triggers, i.e. bits of material that trigger a story within us.
He then goes on to point out how the UK company Sainsbury has combined ads with rich content. Are these actually stories? I couldn't tell. But the idea is there: link ads and stories in content modules that flow together!
For additional ideas on how to do this that creates more engagement, go read the next article on "3 Powerful Game Dynamics That Create Brand Superfans." It's a winning combo.
The latest Harry Potter movie has opened to critical acclaim and to box office records.
LOL -- forget the Harry Potter references! This article is really about the little understood skill of using story triggers.
What is a story trigger? It is an image, icon, photo, reference, proverb, metaphor, name and the like that triggers a story within someone's mind. You do not even have to tell a story, just trigger it using a device like the ones I named above.
Read the article for more insights and ideas for how to use story triggers on your website and in your other marketing channels.
Successful marketers tell a compelling story, and that story creates word-of-mouth. They don’t talk about features or even benefits. They tell a story that we intuitively embrace, buy into, then pass ...
A great article with good examples of how companies are sharing their stories to increase their business.
I really like the examples. Just remember one important point that this article does NOT make -- a tag line or a company promise is not a story. It is a story trigger, however, and can be very useful. Just know the difference.
What's a story trigger? It a metaphor or statement or icon or image that references or triggers a story within someone. Story triggers are very effective tools. But they are not stories. So let's clear up this confusion now and get better at working with stories and story triggers when using them in business.
This is a perfect representation of how a story can make data, information, and a presentation into meaningful knowledge! What I hope people get is that the way to move from the first photo to the last is through storytelling -- it's the invisible secret ingredient. The trick to conveying data and information into meaningful knowledge is learning how to story it.
"So, how do you tell a story in the digital age that stands out, captures people’s attention and gets them to act, engage with your institution? My favourite story for quite some time now and one I’ve been showing in workshops around the world is the story of the Troy public library."
Ok -- the author here isn't writing anything revolutionary. So you can skim the text. But watch the 2.5 minute video! It's the reason I selected this piece.
The video is brilliant -- and a perfect example of how story triggers can make a difference in social causes and social cause marketing.
The video is about a library. It is controversial. Now I am a big fan of libraries so I was rooting for it (my personal bias). And the video itself is a really good example of a digital story.
I say 'story triggers' because the library used story elements and metaphors that sparked stories within the viewer's/reader's brains. The library did not actually tell a full-blown story yet the public reaction was immediate and powerful.
The following is a collection of thoughts regarding the concept of a ‘story telling’ image. Rather than an in-depth instructional tutorial, the following is more of a rhetoric that seeks to persuade and inspire you to develop your creativity and to start taking shots that matter; shots that communicate something meaningful to the viewer.
Here is what I like about this article -- it reminds us that as we go about our work in the world, there are plenty of places to take photos that can be used as story triggers.
If we can stop, pause, take a breath, look around, and approach our world with curiosity and creativity, we will often find photo opportunities that begin to share a story.
I make the distinction between a photograph telling a story and one that triggers a story because I think most photos trigger stories. You can see this happening in the examples the author shares. First, the photos need interpretation, which the author does. 2 of the 3 photos shared are about Australia and without the context of the culture and history of Australia the immediate impact of the photos on me sitting here in in the US are minimal. The 3rd photo is intriguing and does get me to interpret the photo on my own and start creating stories about it.
The take-aways for us in business? Stop and see what is around you, notice opportunities in your work for taking photos, get creative, and snap images that you can use as story triggers to share with the world about your work.
There are some nice additional insights here to get your creative juices flowing, so don't miss reading the rest of this post!
Thank you Giuseppe Mauriello for finding this article!
Metaphors enrich language; just think, would you rather listen to a singer with a "silky voice" or just a "pleasant voice"? In evoking the smooth feeling of silk, the phrase associates a physical texture with something that has none.
Here's a very quick article with a very importantmessage: metaphors that we use in our biz stories actually help listeners feel what we are sharing about.
Wow! This goes hand-in-hand with a recent article I scooped on change that talks about when listeners hear stories they are not only seeing pictures, they are simulating the experience.
This article also talks about the neuroscience of a powerful storytelling device: metaphor.
"The reality is that we never perceive a story exactly as it’s composed. As people read, they fill in, flesh out, and fine-tune our stories. There are lots of reasons for this—maybe they began reading part of the way through, are only skimming half of what we’re saying, or reading something in a different context than we think we’ve provided. Comprehension is the reader’s half of the story. And we create it through two psycholinguistic mechanisms: inference and coherence."
For anyone who has wanted to know about how story triggers work in more depth and detail, then this article is for you.
As the authors explain, it's all about inference and coherence -- two activities that occur in our brains. This is very useful information to know and understand when working with stories in social media or distributed channels.
This article is not for everyone. But if you are interested in mastering story triggers, then here you go!
Mercedes Benz launched a new print ad series in 2011 that is all about visual storytelling. The ads are both about the buyers and the cars.
OK -- I'm going to be nit-picky here and say that while I absolutely love these graphics, what Merecedes Benz is doing here is producing STORY TRIGGERS, not visual stories.
So these are not examples of visual storytelling (a series of images that actually tell a story), but they are story triggers -- images that trigger stories within the minds of the viewers.
I was so captivated by the visuals themselves that at first I couldn't even figure out what part of 'story' was happening here, or why Mercedes was doing this as an ad campaign. Then I finally saw the Mercedes logo on the lower right corner and got it.
Go view the visuals and read the comments from others. The ad campaign seems to be working!
The lesson here: know what you are doing. Know the difference between visual storytelling and story triggers. You will have more control over the medium and it will only help you get better at successfully sharing your stories and experiencing the results you desire.
How inventive! And yes, it is possible to share a story with a pic and few words. These are closer to story triggers than true stories -- but they are good. What's a story trigger? It's sensory material that sparks a story within us -- we remember a similar story, or a time or an experience from our past, or imagine the same.
Regardless, these iPhone stories are a hoot. The take-away for businesses? As you are creating your mobile websites, play with sharing one or more of your stories in this format. Could be fun and engaging.
Here's a great post from Katherine Hansen about different areas of visual storytelling. She discusses photographs, graphic facilitation, videos, museum objects, and clothing lines.
I think the biggest distinction to make here is that most visual storytelling (other than videos) are actually story triggers -- they trigger stories within us. They either remind us of stories we already know, or trigger our creativity to create new ones.
All of the areas Hansen talks about here are applicable to businesses. How are you using visual storytelling to trigger stories within your customers or prospects?