Archive for Corporate Social Responsibility Storytelling

How to persuade any audience with the power of storytelling

Business storytelling is how leaders change beliefs and shape behaviors. I just returned from Amsterdam working with our Arizona State University Master’s students in the Executive Masters of Sustainability Leadership program. On this trip, we met with many important Dutch companies, like Philips and KPN, the AT&T of the Netherlands. The Dutch, although brilliant storytellers over a pint, primarily use assertions and opinions when they are talking business. On Thursday, June 22, I presented my fundamentals of storytelling training to…

The universal story structure of an international water conservation campaign

There is a universal pattern to story that underpins all of our lives. Joseph Campbell, America’s foremost mythologist, called it the Hero’s Journey, or monomyth. The Hero’s Journey is the structure that girds many of the epic stories we watch, read and listen to. We can relate to them, because we, too, experience the Hero’s Journey in our lives. Story mirrors life. The Story Cycle process is inspired by Campbell’s work, and is a hybrid of the Hero’s Journey to make it easily…

The 15-minute competitive advantage for every marketer

For most chief marketing officers, it’s difficult to see through the day-to-day anguish of this transformational market to truly innovate. In her article, “Find the 15-Minute Competitive Advantage,” Rosabeth Moss Kanter of Harvard Business Publishing recommends that a series of small but fast innovations are more effective than one large leap. “As many technology companies have seen to their peril, you can leap much too far into the future by seeking revolution, not evolution, leaving potential users in the dust.…

Are you this sanctimonious sustainability jerk?

Modern Family guest star, Jesse Eisenberg, portrayed one of the most hilarious over-the-top environmentalist that I have seen. If you’re a passionate chief sustainability officer, please remember to tell stories about your corporate social responsibility initiatives from the worldview of your audience. Otherwise, your well-intentioned actions might come off as being self-righteous. And there is little sustainability in sanctimony.

How UPS’ viral story has our brains hopped-up on oxytocin and why it matters to marketers

I have been studying neuroeconomist Paul Zak’s work on storytelling and how it actually changes the chemistry in our brain. When we’re seduced by a good story, we produce cortisol, dopamine and oxytocin, depending on what’s happening in the story, Introduce us to tension and urgency, and the steroid hormone cortisol floods our system creating within us anxiety and focus. Lead us through trouble and show us success in the story and the neurotransmitter dopamine fires-up our reward system triggering…

Did powerpoint bring down two Space Shuttles?

Do you remember where you were on February 1, ten years ago? Let me remind you. As you were leading your peaceful terrestrial life, the space shuttle Columbia was disintegrating over the skies north of Dallas, Texas. All seven astronauts perished. The cause of the accident happened two weeks earlier. Eighty-two seconds into Columbia’s liftoff, a piece of foam insulation, about the size and weight of an empty brief case, tore from the external fuel tank and slammed into the…

Cool new tool for creating a quick video story on your iPad

Pick a template. Upload an image. Record your voice in snippets. Add music. Then post your video. It is that easy with Adobe Voice. Let’s face it, if content is king, creating content is a bitch. Everyone says no one is reading anymore. You have to regale them with infographics, videos and podcasts. But that is more easily said than done. Adobe Voice (Kind of a misnomer given that this is a video program) can help bring your stories to…

What social marketers can learn from a common man’s story on NPR’s StoryCorps

Once I learned about the Hero’s Journey from Joseph Campbell’s work, it started appearing everywhere. This universal pattern to story permeates all of our lives. It’s not only in the stories we love, the movies we gush over, and the music we call our own, but it’s also found in our everyday activities. That’s why stories, and the Hero’s Journey they are structured upon, are mirrors of life’s struggles and victories. Campbell’s work inspired me to create the Story Cycle, a…

How I got myself unceremoniously fired on Basecamp by my self-publisher

I need some help with self-publishing. And apparently at communicating. I was working with a local group to publish my new book, Story Built. But they terminated me. That’s not the half of it. I was fired on Basecamp. Basecamp! Now I know what you’re thinking: “Basecamp is for project management, not a platform for meaningful creative conversation about how to best publish the blood, sweat and tears one puts into writing a book. And especially not a place to…

Patagonia’s Director of Philosophy shares the power of authentic storytelling with students of new Executive Master’s for Sustainability Leadership program at ASU

I have been in advertising for 30 years, and our agency has celebrated many successes turning creative campaigns into meaningful movements that matter. But the democratization of social media, the onset of the global recession, the growing distrust of authority, and the burgeoning Millennial class have prompted a rapid evolution in the ways newly empowered and emboldened consumers choose to communicate. Therefore, to rise above the cacophony of the attention economy, we have created the Story Cycle to help brands better…