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What's Your Story?

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What's Your Story?

Storytelling to Move Markets, Audiences, People, and Brands

FT Press,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

If you want to engage an audience and get people to listen, tell a good story. Great marketers are great storytellers.

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“It’s the same old story.” Well, perhaps it is, but that doesn’t make it any less effective. In fact, explain futurists and storytellers Ryan Mathews and Watts Wacker, the best way to convey your message is to use archetypical story themes derived from human experience. After all, who are Harley-Davidson’s outlaw riders but modern day Robin Hoods? And isn’t Apple just another warrior-like David attempting to defeat a Goliath-like Microsoft by offering the world superior graphics? You can tell a powerful story by learning basic storytelling techniques and crafting them to fit your message. Mathews and Wacker outline these basics, from leveraging themes and shaping your message, to finding the right context, and making it relatable and believable. Ironically, for a book about storytelling it is, at times, convoluted and a bit verbose. Even so, getAbstract suggests it to readers who want their business stories to have happy endings.


A Familiar Story

Think about the companies that produce successful brands, such as Nike and Atlas Missiles. What do they have in common? Each borrowed a familiar story and named their product after it. Not everyone who buys a pair of Nike running shoes knows that Nike was the mythological Greek goddess of victory, but linking your brand to a well-known myth is a strategy that works. Why? Because people love stories, and storytelling is one of the oldest, most effective modes of communication. Mastering the basics of storytelling is pivotal to business success.

It’s True

A story doesn’t necessarily have to be true to contain truth. How is this possible? A recitation of facts might be true, but it might not be captivating. “Truth” stories, instead, are relatable and timeless. They communicate an essential truth.

For example, the facts of the Enron story might unfold like this:

  • 1985: Ken Lay founds Enron.
  • 2001: After initial success, the company struggles and files for Chapter 11 protection.
  • 2002: Criminal investigations of Lay and former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling follow; Lay is found guilty of fraud and conspiracy, and dies...

About the Authors

Ryan Mathews is a futurist and an innovative thinker about corporate culture. The CEO of a consulting company, he co-authored The Myth of Excellence. Watts Wacker is a futurist, speaker, director of a think tank, and the author of The 500 Year Delta and The Visionary’s Handbook.

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