Storyteller Secrets

Strategic Storytelling-Branding 3

When Branding, it is important that you deliver one simple message.  That message must be clear and carry emotion.  As any stand-up comedian will testify to, humor is a hard topic to develop.  As a comic, you are constantly trying to figure out what will make the audience laugh.  Audience mood, subject matter, timing, and occasion are all elements in preparing humor.

On the other hand, you would think human emotion would be more straight forward.  However, humor also has, like in law, a statute of limitations.  A good example is William Shakespeare’s, “Merchant of Venice.”  In the court scene, Shylock, a Jew, will lose his fortune and must convert to Christianity.  Today, when this scene is played out, there is sadness; however, 500 years ago, the audience was belly laughing at this scene.

There are still some forms of humor that maintain, like slapstick, a more physical humor that has been played out for centuries.  Humor based on a play of words can be dated as the meaning of the words or expression change in time.  Whereas, a single tear, still has the emotional response expected.

Generational family topics can be moving like the following video.  No words needed to be spoken and you understand what the company is branding.

This is another military topic where generations having shared similar ordeals and threats meet in an unlikely location.  This video also shows that sex and race are not a criteria for anyone who has served in the armed services.

Did you note that both videos use a single piano to set the emotional tone?   Music can set the tone and mood for the response expected.  Music is a powerful emotional element to add to any video.  Music must be chosen on how you want the audience to react and experience, not what you like.


In the Food City video, when the young man starts to walk up to the house his face is bright and happy as he looks around, then he sees the older soldier dressed up in his full-dress uniform.  The young man’s face slowly changes to a more respectful serious look, dropping his bag, as he moves slowly towards the older solder.  The witness to all of this is one woman who turns to see the two solders meet.  The embrace of the soldiers is the signal for all to encircle the two soldiers and it ends.

Screenshot 2018-03-30 16.12.22

In the American Airlines, a young black female dressed in camouflage fatigues is asked to board first.  The room is crowded, but there are older men who take special attention to this young soldier as she walks forward.  She walks between a row of people but spots one older man who has stood at attention  presenting her a salute.  She humbly acknowledges it with a shy smile and a nod.  The narrator’s words are unnecessary,  the message is clear.

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The piano is a string instrument.  How would an acoustic guitar change the mood in these videos?

Strategic Story

What is Strategic Storytelling-Part 5

Yesterday, we talked about how to build up curiosity as a hook to grab a reader’s attention.  Now that you got the attention it’s time to tell the story.


There are several books teaching storytelling for business; storytelling your brand; storytelling your personal story available for purchase.  They all present the elements of storytelling:  Theme, plot, setting, character development, conflict, and tone.

Strategic Storytelling uses a persuasive argument in a story format to engage and motivate the reader towards a specific action.  Unfortunately, that is not what these books are teaching.  They are teaching their readers how to develop a story script.  I feel as I’ve returned to my English 101 high school class to learn writing comprehension—not persuasive arguments.  So, what does a Strategic Story look like?  Let’s look again at Droiple’s story and break it down.

Droiple doesn’t begin their story with their history, victories, and awards. They start off with identifying the clients present concern, anxiety, or fear in investing more money into a market that continues to change and fluctuate daily:


“You want more paying customers but you’re afraid your marketing won’t work and you’ll lose money.”

The analytics say you are getting the clicks, so where are the customers?  If you got them to visit your site how come they aren’t following through to the last step?

“When a potential customer visits your website they’re interested in your products or services and should become your customer, right? But they don’t, why not? It happens because life’s busy and they need a reminder that they’re interested in doing business with you.”

This next agreement step is important because it builds a relationship of understanding.  It’s your money and time and you are not getting what you paid for.  Let us help show you how to lead the same customers that drifted away back to you.


“You invest time & money to get potential customers to your website, only to see them drift away & simply forget about your business. Don’t let this happen anymore. We’ll help your business turn website visitors into paying customers.”


“The process is called re-marketing. It’s affordable and you need to start doing it. Otherwise you are losing business.”

The story ends with light at the end of the tunnel.  This process will not only make money for you but also act as marketing insurance (a visual analogy).

“Re-marketing will make you more money and protect you from losing customers. It’s like marketing insurance.”

So, let’s summarize the major points:

  1. Identify the needs, problems, fears or anxieties of the client.
  2. Identify the frustrations the client has already experienced.
  3. Build a relationship of empathy and goodwill.
  4. Introduce your solution to your client’s need or solution desired.
  5. End as a mentor\guide with the assurance you have what the client needs.

Remember, the Strategic Story is not about you, it’s about building a relationship with your client. Identifying client fears and their needs.  Do you have any questions?  Let me know.  I’m also available for private consultation.



Strategic Story

What is Strategic Storytelling-Part 4

The Strategic Story has four main steps: Hook, Story, Benefits, and Action.  Let’s begin at the end–Action.  The action is the purpose of a Strategic Story; you want somebody to click on a button, vote in your favor, surrender information, call a number, or buy something. 

51T1SeT4LRL._SX345_BO1,204,203,200_ Moving one step back, in order to get your audience attention to act, you  need—Benefits! There should not be no more than three benefits listed.   Listing too many benefits falls under the snake oil medicine show.  In case you don’t understand the term “Snake Oil,” it was a bottle filled mostly with alcohol with a few herbs and spices added to it.  It promised a list of cures (Benefits) from removing dandruff to curing cancer.  If you have a list of benefits choose only the top three benefits your product or service offers.

curThe Story Step  drives the benefits.  I will spend more time discussing this tomorrow.  Today, I want to discuss the most important element—The Hook!  Here are two facts you might already know:

 1.     98% of Website Traffic Doesn’t convert on the first visit.

2.    Web customers may spend, on average, anywhere from under 10 seconds to 1 minute viewing a site for the first time.


 Let’s do an experiment.  I promise nothing bad will happen.  Let’s pretend you are looking for a car to buy online.  You have heard of Nissan and typed it into google.  Up pops  If you click on this website, it will take you to Nissan Technology.  A company not associated with Nissan at all.  They sell computer internet services and unfortunately are now being sued by Nissan for name rights.  Your interest, cars, was not at this site.  You return to Google.  This is a good example of the 10 Second Under Rule.

Droiple, on the other hand, is an online marketing company.  I know the owner, Jess Walters, who is brilliant at what he does in getting customers through re-marketing.  Look at his site.  He starts off with Fact #1 and adds, “you’re losing business without re-marketing.”  He is creating curiosity.  This is the key element to the hook. 


Thomas Hobbs, a 16th Century philosopher said, “Curiosity is the lust of the mind,” and he wasn’t far off from the truth.  In the diagram above items #1 & #2 are part of the brain’s reward system:  Pleasure and satisfaction.   Eating chocolate or having sex activates these parts of the brain.  #3 deals with having positive feelings in requiring new knowledge.


 Curiosity has been driving force in every new innovation discovery, and invention.  So, how do you create curiosity?  

I’ll tell you Friday!

 That’s one way of doing it.  Building up the suspense and then creating an action that both satisfies the customer’s benefits and their curiosity.  Master curiosity and you hold the reigns for control of your market.  In the end, it’s about getting people to move from curiosity to story, story to benefits, and benefits to action that’s what Strategic Story is all about.












Strategic Story

What is Strategic Storytelling-Part 3

“The human species thinks in metaphors and learns through stories.”

We think in Metaphors.  A metaphor is a form of figurative language which applies non-literal descriptions in order to draw comparisons between two otherwise unrelated things.  Neuroscience brain research has demonstrated that we think in pictures not in words.   Words are abstract like numbers.  Metaphors, on the other hand, create a vivid image that people immediately connect to emotionally.

SpicesA picture of spices with its wide range a vivid colors, textures, and tastes can add flavor to your brand, product or service.  Spices add  piquancy, and sometimes a little heat to a meal.  If you were given the above picture to describe your product or service how would you connect it?

KnightImages play instantly into the imagination of your viewer.  For example, in the above image, do you see just chess pieces, or do you see your company facing your competition and pausing to develop and craft your strategic story, which indicates your next strategic move.

RhinoAsk yourself what would happen if another animal like a cheetah, elephant or hippopotamus were used instead of the Rhino.  What does the Rhino stand for in this image?  What would the other three animals represent?  How would that change the metaphor for the car’s construction, comfort, strength, and durability?


Metaphors help in giving your audience a different perspective on the benefits you offer.  Sometimes people only see the same product\service that can be bought through different companies.  For example, if you are a real estate agent.  You help people buy and sell houses.  But there are hundreds of agents doing the same thing (center object).  What separates you from the others is your story.  How does “The Thinker,” from Rodin differ from the statue of Venus De Milo?  The metaphor of the image is connected emotionally to your product or service.

ShoesTwo shoes one dressy the other relax.  They look about the same size so they represent one person’s life style.

What does the shoe on the left represent as oppose to the shoe on the right?  Did you notice that the dress shoe is on the left side and could represent the left brain:  Logical, abstract, linear thinking, business, facts, mathematics, and thinking in words?  On the other hand, the right side represents the right side of the brain:  Imagination, intuition, rhythm, day dreaming, holistic thinking, the Arts, and fun.  As you can see, there are many creative ways to interpret the images to your needs.

In the end, it is about bringing more visibility to your site or business and thereby increasing your leads for future sales.  It is also understanding how to add emotions through the use of metaphors.  Your task is now to review your sites and decide if the theme is being played throughout your marketing campaign.  Go back to the question, “Why?” your product or service is important, then ask, “Does this metaphor represent me, or who I want to be, or who people think I am?”



Strategic Story

What is Strategic Storytelling-Part 2

Yesterday, I defined what a Strategic Story was.  Today, we will take the first step in learning how to design and craft the core of that story.  The core is the persuasive element of a Strategic Story.  It answers the questions: where have we come from?; Why we are changing?;  And where we are going?  It tells our listeners how our change(s) will benefit them.

In order to do this, we must start with a simple question—Why?  A Strategic Story is developed from change, something happening, or something that will happen if change is not implemented now!  Our global economy is in constant stages of change.  We look for the best patterns to make decisions on what actions need to be taken, in order to stay afloat and to stay competitive in the ocean of economic chaos.

websiteaboutpicDannijo, a jewelry brand, was founded by sisters Danielle and Jodie Snyder in 2008.  They have successfully amassed over 146,000 Instagram followers including a host of celebrities with their fan based.  When asked what changed, they said their company needed to “create narratives that are so compelling to consumers, they want to build your product into their lives.”  This is a great example on how a Strategic Story works to build relationships.

9e06605987524d6a811e286ecf793140Another company, Burt’s Bees, which sells a hugh range of natural body-care products has the philosophy, “What you put on your body should be made from the best nature has to offer.”  Their website shoulders several stories:  It’s HISTORY is told through a timeline with pictures.  The PURPOSE focuses on its guiding principles (its triple bottom line: people, profit, planet).  From product to packaging their philosophy tells its Strategic Story of why they do it, what they do, and how they do it.

New-Coke-Dental-Consulting-3In 1984, Coca Cola had a new strategy to grab the Pepsi drinkers; however, where its leadership failed was in not developing a Strategic Story.  The New Coke, was developed in total secret.  Communiques between departments were even coded.  Its secrecy was equal the the WWII Manhattan Project.  Employees worked on a new product line and didn’t know it.  Marketing and advertising departments thought they were working on a new packaging.  Even the bottlers weren’t informed.

newcoke-adage-042210bigOn April 23, 1985, the company broke the news that they had a new formula for coke.  The public response was immediate and negative.  The Coke loyalist immediately attacked the action.  If social media had been around then it would have been worst.  By May, the company was getting over 5,000 negative calls per day to bring back the original formula; by April the number reached 8,000.  By July 1985, leadership realized they had fired on their competition but almost sunk themselves.

Out of the three stories I mentioned, Coca Cola should be the one you really study.  Their mistakes are your lessons and profits.  Think of the question “Why?” for your product or service change.  Determine the customer benefits because of those changes.  Make it visual and emotional.  How to do this will be discussed in tomorrows blog.