April 26, 2013
The Boston chapter of the American Marketing Association hosted an excellent panel discussion last week: Storytelling, the Art of Moving People. Panelists were Stona Fitch, who is an author and owner of the Concord Free Press; Steve Kolander, who is a VP at Boston ad agency, Small Army; and Doug Lipman, owner of Story Dynamics.
A few of the many gems gleaned from the storytelling gurus:
Steve: Ads don’t work. Marketing is a two-way street, which means having a relationship with your audience is key. One of the best ways to accomplish that is through storytelling. But the stories you tell must have a moral or include a core belief. They must allow your audience to “discover your soul.”
Stona: Your story must be one your audience wants to hear. If not, nothing happens.
Doug: Stories connect head and heart. Making your story compelling creates an emotional response (the heart) that allows people to see another point of view (the head).
Steve: Effective stories are based on a shared belief. If the storyteller communicates, authentically, a belief that his audience shares, a connection is made.
Stona: The best stories often start in the middle. Avoid giving all the back story. Avoid lingering at the end. Let the audience use their imagination.
Steve: When helping a client to tell their story, gather lots of data. Listen to them talk, ask them lots of questions. Then hone in on the best pieces to craft their story. There’s always one there with enough searching, probing, and refining.
Doug: Stories should have a goal and create an image. You need to think about what you want to accomplish by telling your story. It should also leave the audience with an image in their mind that can stay with them long after you have finished sharing it.