Pictures, not words, were the very first method with which humans recorded their history. Visuals capture more information in one shot than a book full of words because they allow you to fill in the story with your imagination.
A picture of a family playing catch in the park has billions of interpretations and plot lines that are waiting for a story to fill in the details.
Since Stranger Things debuted on Netflix, I've seen a number of articles and heard a few podcasts discuss the merits of an 8-episode season over the usual 13. When you think about shows like Daredevil and Jessica Jones, there can be some filler that helps meet the quota. In this piece, Ben Bajarin takes a look at how Netflix and the concept of binge watching is changing how writers and directors tell stories. Bajarin makes the case that the future of entertainment is in fact storytelling as a service through things like original content and posting an entire season at once.
My father was a storyteller. It seemed that if he wasn’t telling a story, he hardly had anything to say. It was on his lap, by his side, sitting across from him at the table, listening to his stories that I learned how the world worked and how to understand people.
Stories not only help us make sense of the world; they help us define who we are. When we share our past with others, we link events together in a narrative — a story. My father had his story. I have mine. You have yours.
The media work with stories. Human brains are wired for stories. The ‘story’ is the basic building block of a newspaper, blog, magazine or broadcast. It’s their job to find and communicate stories, but if you understand what a story is and why it is so important you will find your media relations will be much more successful. Similarly, if you can learn to tell a good story, science says you can improve your blogs and marketing. But what is a story?
Our feelings (anger, shame, delight) appear almost instantly, and, left alone, they don’t last very long. But if we invent a narrative around an event or a person, we can keep the feeling going for a very long time
Unlike other companies that struggle to create compelling stories, Autodesk’s content marketing team wrestles with prioritizing an abundance of exciting topics to write about at the intersection of design, technology, and innovation.
Go behind the scenes at a content powerhouse. Autodesk sells 3D-design, -engineering, and -entertainment software. It provides the tool kit that designers, architects, engineers, developers, artists, and even hobbyists use to create masterworks in their respective fields. Given this, Autodesk is in the enviable position of having not just one or two exciting topic areas to write about but many dozens of possibilities. From futuristic automotive design and sustainable urban infrastructure, to 3D-modeling and digital special effects in the entertainment industry — it’s an editor’s dream of compelling content topics.
This neural coupling only happens if teller and listener share the same context or “have common ground.” I don’t think analyzing your audience is the same as feeling solidarity with your audience. The stories that flow from solidarity enable much deeper connections – like a dance the storyteller both leads and follows. Placing yourself firmly in an empathetic relationship with those you wish to influence may inspire higher levels of engagement, too.
Storytelling that is crafted strategically will build the memories you want to leave with your readers and listeners.
And it doesn’t have to be a groundbreaking, tear-jerking, Oscar-worthy tale. I love this quote from storyteller extraordinaire, Kindra Hall, “You don’t have to make someone cry. You just have to make them see the story and imagine themselves in it.”
This is because storytelling is tactile. Stories help people see, hear, taste, smell, and feel your message.
In my mind there is not a more powerful – and more underused – medium than the documentary film. Brands rarely take on artistically complex video projects because they require a level of creative and technical talent that most brands (and even many of the agencies that serve them) don’t have access to. Of course there are some that pull it off beautifully. Brands like Patagonia are master documentary storytellers. These brands are immersed in the visual world and have a clear point of view to share with their audiences.
What about brands that don’t have such a rich source of stories to pull from? Or brands you would not associate with artistic film projects? What can we learn from the projects they launch?
In an interview with Adweek, Emily Fink, Liberty Mutual’s Vice President of Digital and Social, said, “Insurance isn’t the most high-engagement story, so it’s an opportunity for us to use 360 video to help us tell our brand story.”
As the lead researcher and indeed, creator of the field of neural and cognitive science of story, he is on the front wave of discovering the catalytic power of story and how it can be used to influence, persuade, and change.
He’s also the award-winning author of two books, “Story Proof: The Science Behind the Startling Power of Story” and “Story Smart: Using the Science of Story to Persuade, Inspire, Influence, and Teach.”
During our discussion — as we commiserated about how physicians and nurses are glued to their computer screens nowadays, clicking boxes, and typing away furiously on their keyboards — he said something that struck a chord. He said, “You know what Suneel, the stories have really gone from medicine.”
What did he mean by this? He elaborated, and we continued talking. In a nutshell, what he meant was that in the past, every patient was a story. A unique person. A human being. This patient was well known to their personal physician, whom they usually had a good and strong relationship with. Even when documenting information in a hospital, when a physician saw a patient (regardless of whether that physician already knew the patient), there would be a story that would appear on the computer or in the chart in the form of a transcribed letter. This was either a history and physical report or a discharge summary. It would take the form of a narrative, in proper English with logical paragraphs and sentence construction, and tell you all about what was wrong with the patient, their individual history, and the diagnosis and treatment plan.
It’s Simpler Than You Think John Yorke is a Golden Globe Award-winning producer and business storytelling consultant in addition to being the founder of the BBC’s Writer’s Academy and the author of “Into the Woods: A Five Act Journey Into Story.”
“Into the Woods” dissects the common underlying narrative of some of the most historically successful stories across drama, philosophy, business, and politics, and takes the work of our favorite authors here at the Business of Story one step further.
From his extensive expertise in the world of television and drama, John shares the tools he has identified and developed during his thirty year career that business leaders can implement to create a stunning, simple, and successful narrative.
Now with Instagram offering both long- and short-term content, newsrooms are rolling out different strategies for the two similar-but-distinct platforms. I talked with The New York Times, National Geographic, and Sports Illustrated — each known for striking photography and large Instagram followings — to understand how they are trying to make use of Instagram Stories for a new kind of visual narrative. Here, lightly edited, is what they had they say.
I've been waiting a long time to write this essay. I thought of it four or five years ago when I was writing a series of posts about natural storytelling. I never wrote the essay because other projects got in the way, but it has been at the back of my mind all this time. I'm excited to finally bring these thoughts to you.
Do you know who you are writing for? Do you have realistic expectations for the time it takes to build an audience? Are you able to focus your energies into one platform at a time? Are you really writing for your audience?
Joe Pulizzi is a content mastermind. He’s an author, speaker, and the founder of Content Marketing Institute, which publishes the Chief Content Officer magazine and produces the premier international event for content marketing: Content Marketing World.
Joe talks to us about the how to tune into and write for your audience instead of yourself, the time is takes to develop your brand, and the art of staying simple. He is always looking for that greater connection, saying, “what I want is something that’s really going to make an impact, that’s truly compelling.”
Gregg Morris's insight:
Thought this was going to be with Nancy Duarte when I read the headline. Nothing wrong with Bazooka Joe though. He's a might smart fella'!
Have you identified your personal, authentic story? How about the story of your brand? Are your eyes and ears fine-tuned enough that you’ve begun to notice the stories that are constantly happening around you every minute of the day?
Christoph Trappe is a career storyteller. He began as a journalist and developed his story, becoming a keynote speaker, blogger, and content marketing strategist. He currently helps hospitals throughout the United State share their stories, and in 2015 was named the IMA’s Internet Marketer of the Year. He is the author of the book, “Get Real: Telling Authentic Stories for Long-term Success,” and he joins the Business of Story Podcast to reveal his key strategies to become more confident in clarifying your authentic story.
Doug Drexler is the first Academy, Oscar, and Emmy Award Winning story artist to join us on the Business of Story Podcast.
As a master visual storyteller and one of the FX and makeup geniuses behind operations such as “Dick Tracy,” “Battlestar Galactica,” and ”Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Doug knows his way around the storytelling realm of Hollywood.
Today we tap into his keen visual expertise to better understand the elusive ability to influence clients and customers by crafting game changing visual stories.
Maximize your visual presentations by understanding the psychology behind visual storytelling, the tools at your disposal, and how to use your innated visual storytelling powers for good.
As every business leader and speaker knows, identifying a story that will work to unify your troops or sway your customers is easier said than done. More often than not, storytellers hit a wall, or fear they have nothing to draw on.
Enter Shawn Callahan, the Founder of Melbourne-based storytelling company, Anecdote, and author of the new book, “Putting Stories to Work.”
Shawn identifies as a sort of corporate anthropologist, helping companies hone in on their oral storytelling practices to initiate change within their organizations. He has also crafted tools and techniques to remember key stories, keep them fresh and engaging, and to replace them when they become tired.
Want to learn how to mine your personal life for engaging, motivating stories? Shawn is your man.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer rocked our world, and it remains one of the all-time greatest TV shows. The story of a fated vampire-hunter who tries to live a normal life in high school, Buffy still has few worthy successors. And it has so much to teach us about good writing.
Nick brings his expertise in branding, social media, and marketing to the Business of Story Podcast to discuss the realities of coping with an ever-changing digital landscape, and how brands must employ the power of storytelling to create unique and recognizable identities across digital platforms.
Make ‘Em Laugh What’s the one thing that business leaders forget when crafting their brand identity and business stories?
A little lightheartedness can go a long way when forging connections with your consumer base, and who better to learn this skill from than the Social Media Lead of The Onion, “America’s finest news source”?
Eric Munn heads up the social programming at Onion Labs, the in-house advertising agency of The Onion. The Labs are an independent off-shoot of the company and lead their social practices and partner campaigns.
Eric works with companies who seek to create viral, humorous content, and surprise their consumer base with a laugh. Another advantage of these projects is that the satirical style mastered by the writers of The Onion’s news articles also appears in advertising content, to the great delight of The Onion’s considerable fan base. Thus, brands get to expand their network and reach while having a whole lot of fun.
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