For me, the word “storytelling” conjures up visions of reading bedtime stories; something I fondly remember doing each evening with my daughter in the early years. Early on it was about goodnight moon and how much I loved her, meatballs coming from the sky, a lady who spread lupine seeds and then the adventures of Harry Potter. But there is so much more…my parents are good storytellers; my Dad’s remembrances’ of his summers at his uncle’s farm in Canada and later his years in the Army, and my Mom’s stories growing up with seven brother and sisters on a rustic Vermont farm. A tad more famous storytellers that come to mind are Andy Rooney, Walt Disney, Yogi Berra, and one of the best of them all, Bill Cosby and his stories about growing up with Fat Albert and the gang. Musically, Bruce Springsteen applies high-energy notes and a heavy beat to his Jersey life stories.
Today, there’s an explosion of storytelling thanks to the Internet and social media. Blogging has become the stage of story tellers everywhere due the ease of both acquiring and spreading information. For years I’ve told many a story in my [printed] Printips newsletter column. With over 2 billion YouTube videos viewed every day, video storytelling is huge and only growing. If you’ll recall, with my trusty iPhone, using the camera, the video recorder, and internet access at my fingertips, I was able to compose and share my unfolding story of the Paul McCartney concert “live” from Fenway back in July.
What’s fueling this growth and popularity? Storytelling is a cornerstone of human existence, and it’s what enables people to communicate and connect with anyone. It’s also what has personalized a somewhat increasingly depersonalized means of communication because of all the different types of technology. I’ve been writing my Printips column for many years and people tell me how much they enjoyed reading stories about my daughter growing up, my wife’s artistic endeavors, and our travel experiences. Stories make a connection between people with shared interests and desires.
In business and work life, storytelling can have many purposes…to teach lessons, spread knowledge, share empathy, offer hope, or add humor when it’s most needed. The traditional Four P’s of marketing (product, place, price, promotion) are being replaced with the Four C’s – content, context, community connection. Seth Godin, arguably the world’s most prolific blogger and content advocate, is a current favorite storyteller of mine and speaks to these values daily on his blog at www.sethgodin.com.
Whatever business you’re in and whatever you goals might be… to initiate social change, make a sale, or make a friend, the people who are best at it are the ones who can tell a story that makes you sit up, listen, and understand. The best storytellers are becoming the best business leaders. Contact Tom at Catamount Marketing to learn how to leverage your stories.