business storytelling

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Where does culture come from? We all seem to know that we have a great culture: ask any tech entrepreneur or people manager, and they will rave about their entrepreneurial, meritocratic, familial culture. But where does culture come from? How can culture be harnessed? How can your particular culture be articulated? These are the questions that should keep you up at night if you run a company full of knowledge …

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When my friend Lisa was first preparing to launch her start-up, she spent days agonizing over her pitch deck. Lisa works as a designer in the food and beverages industry, where customers are particularly sensitive to the aesthetics of presentation. She knew that your run of the mill Powerpoint deck just wouldn’t do. Time was getting tight. Money was getting tight. Lisa was hoping that her deck would help her …

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What is a story? I often begin my Strategic Storytelling trainings by asking participants this question. Without fail, this question creates a room full of confused faces. (SFX: Crickets.) So let me ask it anyway. What is a story? Aristotle had an answer to this question. 2,400 years ago, Aristotle analyzed the Greek art of rhetoric — the persuasive arguments popular among politicians and salespeople of his day (and also …

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Authenticity: Not Just Beards and Fancy Air Plants In 2013, the Boston Consulting Group surveyed 2,500 American consumers and found that “being authentic” was one of the main qualities they said would attract them to a brand. For millennials, authenticity was particularly important. Millennials said that a brand’s authenticity attracted them more than any other quality besides loyalty discounts. Why has authenticity become so important? One clear answer is the …

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Some people hate being asked the question “what do you do?” But I love it. Because I have such an odd job title, it’s always exciting to see how each new person reacts when I tell them what I do. “Storyteller?,” they’ll say, their brow furrowed. “So, like, you read stories to children?” Not exactly. Although storytelling has become the hottest buzzword in business, most people still think of stories as something only …

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Way back in 2002, when Kelly Clarkson and (gulp) Nickleback were on the top of the charts, Apple was nothing like the $516B behemoth it is today. Having only recently released the first iPod, Apple was still a small fry — valued at less than $7B, barely in the same conversation as Microsoft, which closed that year worth nearly $300B. At the time, an estimated 97.5% of global users were still using Windows, and “tech” …

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Why has storytelling become such a popular business buzzword? The answer is common sense. Once, when information was scarce, we put our highest value on acquiring as much as it as we could get our hands on. (Remember those old koans: “Knowledge is Power” or “The Truth is Out There”?) Now, there’s no need for Mulder and Scully: the truth is just a Google search away. Today, our task — as business people, citizens, family …

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In Wild, 27-year old Cheryl Strayed sets out to walk the Pacific Crest Trail on a journey of healing and self-discovery. Her only companion is an overstuffed backpack which she nicknames “Monster”. For her audience, the metaphor is clear: Strayed is bogged down by the monumental baggage of her “story”, and her healing will come when she lets go, grieves and moves on. Though most businesses aren’t outwardly concerned with either healing or self-discovery, …

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business storytelling Archives - Jordan Bower