This post is from the Nimble blog written by Kathy Klotz-Guest - I selected it because "Marketing expert Kathy Klotz-Guest of Keeping It Human makes a strong case for scaling relationships to scale your brand."
Here's what caught my attention:
With all the social media frenzy these days, it’s hard to focus at times on what really matters: relationships, not likes, social mentions, or tweets.
Today, every owner and executive is a Chief Relationship Officer.
The human element matters in marketing and messaging, in our stories and content.
It also means being human in our products, services, and customerexperiences – that is how a human brand — and how customer relationships — are built.
Scaling relationships involves scaling “people” – that precious human element.
Stories Catalyze and Scale
Before you mobilize advocates, you need your core purpose story. Stories are the shareable amino acids of your brand. Too often, businesses spend more time communicating facts and services, rather than talking about who we are and what we stand for.
These stories are critical because they enable your best customers to refer you and to champion your cause.
That’s differentiated “referral fuel.”
"The best storytellers are often not in the c-suite or marketing suite — they’re the creators, curators, developers, innovators, and service people on the front customer lines.
If you are not unleashing your best people – with some healthy social media guidelines – you are not using your full storytelling capacity.
A truly social business recognizes that employee relationships with customers are often the reason customers are loyal. Yes, it can work the other way, too. Business has been, and always will be, about people".
Chief Relationship Officers Build Scalable Human Brands
Are you scaling people inside and outside of your company to build better experiences and relationships? You should be.
"I see that life can very much be lived as a form of art. We can each choose to become multidimensional, a unique creative expression, a story of elegance, beauty and grace. The cultivating force is love"
This is one of those gems that don't come along very often. It is moving, written with grace and certainly has something that will connect with anyone who reads this, it's about the story of your life.
Here are some highlights:
**Life is simple. That is the beauty of it. Narratives define the relevance of antagonistic complexity and the centrality of that which is beautifully simple to us, that which in our universe has become tame to us
**Have a narrative for every discipline you care about
**every person that you care about
**every part of your body
**every part of yourself
**every idea you bring into this world
**imagine the world as it would be without your presence
**then imagine if you had infinite love and finite time. Identify an infinite variety of possible quests that relate to the narrative of each
**define your diversification strategy so that you seek returns of the right forms of meaning for whoyou are and who you wish tobecome
**review the top pages of that list prioritized by feasibility and your own constraints
**Redesign iteratively until the parts of yourself symphonically agree that having a specific implication in your world would be an act of art worthy of the identity you would wish to giftyourself.
**Leave everything you care about better off to thedegree to which it is in your lifeas a matter of art the grace of only being traceable by our love and not by the degree to which we are a burden to our world
**Be visible only in the love we create in our world so that when we look in the mirror if we see what the world sees then all we will see is love
In our experience, it's rare for a diverse group of headstrong Executive Education participants from around the globe to agree on anything. Our research has shown that more and more leaders — from organizations that range from computer-networking giant Cisco Systems to Hindustan Petroleum, a large India-based oil supplier — are using the power of organizational conversation to drive their company forward.
I love this article! Why? Because it reframes leadership, organizational change, and employee engagement as a conversation. Finally!
The authors don't directly mention storytelling, but if you are going to have a meaningful conversation, you know that storytelling is going to be a part of it.
Actually, promoting conversational storytelling is what I've practiced for years in my org development work. And it's a natural for anyone connected into business storytelling.
This notion fits perfectly with the emerging recognition that stories -- and stories told in conversation -- are the path to change, effective leadership, and engagement.
I like the research the authors shared, also. This article lays the foundation for where and how to engage in conversations/storytelling that make a difference. And don't forget to read the comments at the end of the post -- there's lots of good info there, too!
This piece is from Evivio Blog - I selected this piece because today is the beginning of the Reinvention Summit where people from all over the world gather together to hear and share stories of change. All businesses are going through reinvention, telling the right stories to connect with their audiences in a new way is crucial.
Here are some highlights:
**Stories are the new currency in digital marketing, as digital media allow consumers a surfeit of channels to listen to and engage on.
**Consumers want to be engrossed and entertained, and as with other entertainment media, they expect a story.
But stories are not just entertaining.
**Stories are useful, descriptive, beautiful, interesting: shareable.
**Shareable, and participatory: when your audience shares your content, they often add their perspective to it, adding social credence that can further enhance its relevance
**The iconic marketing goal of the social media era is ‘viral’ content – a video, photo or other content that spreads like a virus from host to host, making millions of people laugh, cry or think.
**But one must consider how many of those attempts at ‘viral’ marketing havesucceeded.
**On a Wikipedia list of the most viral internet memes very few of them are associated with a brand and those that are were almost always created by a third party or viewed as a public joke.
**Trying to produce a viral internet meme is like trying to stand up on a water slide. The chances that you will fall flat on your face and look pretty silly in the process are very high.
**Rather than attempting to create ‘viral’ content, marketers should aim for ‘shareable’ content. That is, content that genuinely affects their target demographic; content that addresses real problems or communicates similar ideals.
Whether you attended the 2012 South by Southwest Interactive Conference or just followed attendees on Twitter, you know content, and content marketing in...
While stories vary widely across organizations—from product and brand stories to those based on customer and audience interests—the art and craft of storytelling must be honed regularly, especially in an era of consistently evolving technology. In that sense, nothing beats regular practice.
But not far behind is the act of consuming stories—that is, regularly reading, watching, and listening to the work of today’s best. For that, I’ve put together this list of exceptional storytelling resources content professionals should follow if you’re serious about finding and telling stories that have impact:
If a picture's worth a thousand words, how many words does it take to paint a picture? Well, if you've been following the crumbs in my blog, you'll know that I'm leading you to the third responsibility of a good storyteller. And this one may be the most important of all. It's making your story visual. So grab your marshmallows and put 'em on the fire. It's this fireside scene you'll need to test your story.
Why the fireside scene, you may ask? Imagine this scenario. You're sitting around a warm fire with friends and companions. You see stars begin to pop out against the darkening sky. Someone tells a story of an event that happened during the day. But you can't see the storyteller's gestures, or the look on his or her face. All you have is the storyteller's vocal timbre, rhythm and volume and the small selection of words chosen to paint the scene. So you listen carefully and let your imagination respond to the words you hear.
We are all publishers today, but that did not used to be the case. Here's an overview of the history of content marketing and how got here.
Content marketing and storytelling are becoming a larger part of the marketing organization in general.
**Content Marketing Institute and their colleagues are seeing an evolution of the marketing department transform itself into more of a publishing department.
Although this is not an easy transition and the pain has just begun, some larger brands have clearly made this transition.
**For example, Kelly Services now spends over 60% of their marketing budget on content creation and distribution activities. Even though Kelly’s VP of Thought Leadership Todd Wheatland (and Content Marketing World speaker) states that Kelly has been “doing content marketing for more than 10 years”
**many brands are still struggling with content marketing structure. Even though the barriers to entry are gone and we have all the opportunities in the world to develop valuable and compelling content
**the biggest corporate challenge is the creation of engaging content.
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.
Nonprofit communications too often get tangled up in the language of data, generalities, and high-level objectives, which keeps supporters at arms-length from the emotional core or their organization. To be effective, they need to tell a compelling story, giving supporters a one-to-one connection to the impact a donation can have. Find out how one organization communicates with stories that carry the emotional resonance to touch and connect with supporter, and read about four resources for undertanding and utilizing the power of storytelling.
A special thanks to Hans Heesterbeek for curating this wonderful article, so many great things here, have to listen to the videos more than once - thanks to Karen Dietz for discovering it and for always bringing us brilliant insights and amazing articles on storytelling!!
Tell me if you’ve heard this one before – you’re on a project that was thrust on your stakeholder groups from high above. They were insufficiently consulted during the problem definition phase, and they are now questioning everything during implementation. These stakeholders can’t get the project to be outright cancelled, but they can cause it to be ultimately unsuccessful if they don’t commit to putting their time and energy into ensuring that the solution being developed is appropriately used.
Sound familiar? It sure does to me!
So what is a leader, manager, consultant to do? Add stories into the mix.
I like this article because it directly addresses the difficulties of project management, enrolling people to your cause, and how stories can be one of the remedies applied.
The author includes 3 steps to shift the situation and get your projects back on track. If you are stuck -- read this.
And if you consult with others, tuck this list in your back pocket to keep your clients & project on track.
**This is the kind of article that I love to post because it may change someone's life and move them in a postive direction.
We all have scars. Some are small and others more prominent. Some fade and are forgotten while others persist as vivid reminders of past trauma.
**Everyone makes a choice how to grow and move forward in the wake of their wounds.
Here are a few highlights:
**The moment we become aware of our imperfections from society's viewpoint, those imperfections become scars.
**Ironically, we can choose to make these imperfections our perfection. We decide how we deal with the negative words from society and those around us -- whether to allow them to destroy or to empower us.
**By sharing our stories, we just might have the opportunity to help heal the scar of one person out there -- maybe even more. If we help one person heal from a scar, then what other amazing things are we capable of accomplishing?
Dan Keath wrote this piece on Jared Rohit Bhargava referred to it today in his powerful talk for the Reinvention Summit, the largest virtual summit of storytellers, fascinating!
Here's an excerpt from the video about Jared, remember him, the guy who lost weight eating fast food at Subway?
Is there anyone in the US who doesn’t know the story of Jared Fogel, who lost 250 pounds by eating Subway sandwiches every day? It’s a story that has stuck on a massive scale, and I think we can learn a lot from its success. Let’s start by going back to the Pre-Jared Era.
You probably don’t remember that, before Jared, Subway had another campaign going called “7 under 6,” meaning that they have 7 sandwiches under 6 grams of fat. Both these campaigns had the same core message—that Subway has low-fat sandwiches.
Yet the story of Jared crushed the statistic. Why?
This piece was written by Jose Baldaia for his blog - I always love reading his blog. This is no exception, Jose talks about the importance of telling a compelling story for your business.
Here's what caught my attention:
**In these times we experience the story, as if we had enjoyed a wonderful meal.
In a story, the idea that resides inside the story can become part of people.
**They don’t feel the story as outside observers, or as a critique about something or someone.
**They feel the story as active participants in story.
If we look back and walk through the moments that we remember, we consider that what happened build what we are today. It’s our history and our story.
**No matter that the assignment of responsibilities for the good and bad times, because thosemoments were experienced and leave a trail that marks the path traveled.
**That’s why a story is a fact dressed with an emotion that obliges the action and that transforms our world.
**"The successful strategists of the future will have a holistic, empathetic understanding of customers and be able to convert somewhat murky insights into a creative business model that they can prototype and revise in real time" Roger Martin
**An idea that we want innovative has to be transmitted with groundbreaking passion.
**It is the heat of passion which makes our listeners, readers or viewers resonate
Selected by Jan Gordon covering "Storytelling, Social Media and Beyond"
One "often hears advice, in the content marketing, to be a “story teller,” which some might argue is very much harder than it sounds. You might argue that a “story” in a content marketing context has to do with illustrating a brand promise in some tangible way.
The way one frequently encounters “stories” of this sort could be a case study where a “customer has a problem and my solution was the answer.”
But be honest: how many of you find this “good story telling?”
Here's what caught my attention:
Jerry Cleaver’s Immediate Fiction is a fantastic book on storytelling and writing, he argues, and he emphasizes three elements of every good story. Greatly simplified, they are:
* Conflict – there is a big problem
* Action – the character fights the problem
*Resolution – there is a clear ending
****The issue is how to create dramatic tension for a case study, or any other piece of content marketing, where there is genuine conflict, some action and a resolution, that is not so much within the typical “case study” script that it fails to engage storytelling and content marketing
I know there are people who have answers to this and I'm hoping some of you will make comments here.
I selected this because the author gives some very good tips on how to use storytelling that lets your audience know who you are and why they should trust you. People work with and buy from people they like. If you're not connecting with others through your content online, this article will help you.
Many organizations are not even aware that their message has lost all connection with their audience
The strange thing with all this is that the solution to creating compelling content is so obvious: Use stories and storytelling
Do you think that you or your business is in touch with its own stories? And can they be told in a way that connects them with their audience in this hyper-connected world?
Chances are this might not be the case if you have trouble answering any of the following questions:
**What story really defines you?
**How does your story fit with the heart of your organization?
**How is your story emotionally engaging to your audience?
**Can your audiences retell your story?
**In what ways can they develop trust in your story and act upon it?
Here are a couple of good takeaways:
Remember the universal truth:
Nobody wants to be sold, but everyone wants to be helped. Create content that:
**answers your audience's questions
**provides them with answers and solutions or demonstrates how your offerings can help them in their everyday lives
Honesty among people is important, but trust is critical for marketers to gain audience support. So make sure your story demonstrates why you arae worthy of your audience's trust.
A product is more than an idea, it's more than a website, and it's more than a transaction or list of functionalities. A product should provide an experience or service that adds value to someone's life through fulfilling a need or satisfying a desire. The ultimate question then becomes: who identifies that value? Maybe it isn't the product manager, marketer, technologist, or designer; perhaps what we need is a new role: the product storyteller.
Are you a product storyteller? Whether you are an entrepreneur, small biz owner, or in marketing/branding, I think you should be!
This is a thoughtful discussion about product creation and the role of the storyteller in the entire development process. I like how the author identifies story work in all phases of the product cycle. She makes great points that will help us all connect better with consumers.
But as the author says, "The challenge today is that we face a shortage of storytellers because our current organizational structures and cultures are not optimized for the activities involved in storytelling."
It also sounds like in the future there should actually be a position called "Product Storyteller!" I hope that the powers-that-be are listening.
I came across this video from Coca Cola posted in August of this year, it's clever, entertaining and worth watching, you never know, it might spark an idea that relates to your business. As a curator, storytelling and curation are related, this got me thinking.......
The media landscape is a very different beast today than it was even 5 years ago. Then agency-led television commercials dominated how we channel our marketing.
Even as the eternal optimist I have to admit that the times, they are a changin'. I'm interested in storytelling, not just the written word on the page, but as a narrative psychologist, spoken-word stories of everyday lives.
The key to good storytelling is the listener, as well as the teller. A good listener can elicit a story that has a beginning, middle and end without interruptions an distractions, and within this, identify the tone as well of the theme of the narrative.
This is what especially caught my attention, interesting perspective - I say, it depends on who's writing it, wouldn't you say? There are many sides to a story.
When we finally transfer our changing times to the page, will they accurately reflect the true suffering and desperation of people today, or will we flatten the peaks into feel-good troughs?
It will be interesting to see if, in years to come, writers capture the chaos before the current change in their stories.