The Business of Story Podcast with Host Park Howell
Hosted by Park Howell, known as the world’s most industrious storyteller, the Business of Story is ranked among the top 10% of downloaded podcasts internationally.
The goal of the show is to help sales and marketing leaders excel through the stories they tell. Each episode brings you the brightest storytelling content creators, advertising creatives, authors, screenwriters, makers, marketers, and brand raconteurs that show you how to craft and tell compelling stories that sell. #StoryOn!
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You know how invaluable committed employees are to the success of your brand and the growth of your revenue.
But do you know the cost of losing a colleague? Studies show that it will cost you 150+ percent of a middle manager’s annual salary to replace them.
If they’re making $80,000 per year (which is extremely conservative), it will cost you in the neighborhood of $120,000 to replace them.
It doesn’t sound right, does it?
You can quickly run the numbers of those people running out your door with the new Business of Story Attrition Calculator.
See for yourself what it costs you every time you lose an employee.
It ain’t pretty. And it’s extremely expensive.
So how do you retain your top talent?
Start by crafting and telling compelling stories that they will buy into and prosper from.
Joey Coleman, Chief Composer of Design Symphony, helps companies keep their customers and employees.
Looking at Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey alongside my Story Cycle System™, it’s like comparing classical mythology to a modern business strategy.
Campbell’s approach, the Hero’s Journey, takes storytellers on a grand adventure through archetypal stages—trials, mentors, battles, and self-discovery. It’s the stuff of timeless myths, ingrained in our collective consciousness.
Now, contrast that with my Story Cycle System—a pragmatic guide for crafting narratives that not only resonate but also drive results in the boardroom.
I mapped the Hero’s Journey to business communications guided by my 10-step Story Cycle System that has grown brand by as much as 600 percent.
It’s less about the hero’s mythical quest and more about strategically weaving a story that captivates and delivers real-world impact.
Campbell’s central character may be wielding a mythical sword, but in my world, the protagonist brandishes a narrative crafted to cut through the noise of a crowded marketplace.
It’s a different tune, one that blends emotion with a keen business edge.
In essence, Campbell and I bring different flavors to the storytelling table. He taps into the timeless human experience, while I strike a more contemporary chord, emphasizing the practical power of narrative in the business realm.
Together, we invite storytellers to embark on a dual quest—honoring ancient rhythms while strategically leveraging storytelling in the modern landscape.
In this episode, I show you how my origin story can be naturally outlined following every step of the Hero’s Journey and how you can use this ancient storytelling artform to guide the crafting of your origin story.
Or, better yet, you can use the Story Cycle System™ for the same purpose but with an eye to creating compelling business narratives to connect with and convert your customers.
“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare asked in his Play Romeo & Juliet.
“That which we call a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet,” he proclaims suggesting that the name of things is irrelevant.
But Shakespeare didn’t live in the noisy times that we do now.
You and your customers have abundant choices on who to work for, what to buy, and where to eat. Powerful, illustrative names send a laser signal that catches attention.
If you don’t have a name that provides immediate meaning, piques interest or conveys who you are, what you stand for, and what you offer, then you will remain lost in the overgrown thicket of competition in the cacophony of communication we all compete in.
If you’re in need of a name, you’re in luck. Because today, the international queen of naming herself, Alexandra Watkins, will share with you how to come up with a super sticky, and even greasy, name.
Alexandra Watkins is a leading and outspoken authority on brand names with buzz. For nearly 20 years, she and her naming firm, Eat My Words, have created love-at-first-sight brand names for countless companies including Amazon, Coca-Cola, Disney, Twitter, and Google.
Her breakthrough creativity book, Hello, My Name is Awesome: How to Create Brand Names That Stick, was named a Top 10 Marketing Book by Inc. Magazine. Her personal “Name Hall of Fame” include the Wendy’s Baconator, Neato robotic vacuum, Burger King’s Mac n’ Cheetos, Spanish language school Gringo Lingo, and frozen yogurt franchise called Spoon Me.
As you know by now, the Story Cycle System™ isn’t just for crafting a mesmerizing brand story strategy that bewitches your audiences.
You can use the exact same process to create winning sales presentations, blog posts, videos, whitepapers, etc.
In this episode, I show you how I used the Story Cycle to develop my TEDx Talk and provide you examples throughout the show on how you can use it to make all of your long-form content to captivate your customers, colleagues and the communities you serve to convert them into believers.
When you look at the Story Cycle System you’ll notice that it is not a closed loop circle, like the Hero’s Journey.
I view the Story Cycle as a virtuous spiral that expands customer engagement with every revolution from brand awareness, to brand adoption to brand appreciation, when they become repeat customers and happily share your story with their world for the most persuasive form of advertising there is: FREE word-of-mouth marketing as they scale your brand story.
I realized after rereading Brand Bewitchery to you that the Story Cycle System is really like a flywheel, a popular metaphor in the start-up world. The flywheel effect occurs when small wins accumulate over time, creating momentum that keeps your business growing.
You’ve heard the popular truism that people buy from people they know, like and trust.
You and your brand need to become known, even famous, through your focused brand narrative. You must be known and popular to grow your business. That’s the beginning of the brand storytelling flywheel.
Last spring, I was producing a 90-minute storytelling training for Walmart Canada as part of its Business of Story mastery course.
One of the Walmart associates asked me how many stories I used in my training.
I’d never been asked that before so I wasn’t exactly sure.
At the break, I counted the anecdotes I shared to make the training entertaining and concrete.
To my surprise, in 90 minutes I had used 18 stories to make my storytelling points.
So I counted the stories I use in a typical full-day session and neared 35.
If the following participant testimonial I received from another mastery course I produced at The University of Dayton Center for Leadership is any indication, storytelling in your learning & development works…
“Park Howell is legit! Come and learn to appreciate how your quest for more effective communication can level up. Park steps into Merlin’s role of tutoring with kindness and knowledge.”
I’ve learned that in the realm of education and corporate training, storytelling has emerged as a dynamic and compelling tool to engage, inspire, and educate learners.
(Remember those stare-out-the-window boring lectures in high school?)
But making your training more impactful through storytelling is difficult because you’re not shown how to tell stories using proven narrative frameworks.
Today’s guest explores the importance of modeling all of your training around storytelling.
Charles Good is a distinguished leader in the field of management and leadership. As the President of the Institute for Management Studies, he has transformed the organization into a beacon of excellence in executive education.
With a career spanning over three decades, Charles’s dedication to developing the next generation of leaders is unparalleled. He is a sought-after speaker and thought leader, sharing his insights on effective management strategies at conferences worldwide.
His passion for education and his commitment to fostering innovation in leadership have left an indelible mark on the business world, inspiring countless professionals to reach their full potential.
Why Stories Matter
At the core of the human experience lies the universal love for stories. From ancient legends and myths passed down through generations to contemporary novels and blockbuster films, stories have an enduring appeal. This affinity for storytelling is not a mere coincidence; it’s deeply ingrained in our cognitive and emotional makeup.
When it comes to learning and development, stories provide a compelling way to convey information, making complex concepts relatable and memorable. By framing facts, ideas, and lessons within a narrative structure, trainers can tap into the innate human ability to connect with characters, situations, and emotions.
As a result, learners are more likely to grasp and retain the knowledge presented to them.
Great stories scale, meaning they are easily and readily shared.
That’s what Chapter 10 of Brand Bewitchery is all about. Now that you’ve crafted your brand story through the previous nine steps of the proven Story Cycle System,™ how do you best spread it throughout the world?
Your goal is to dramatically increase revenue through new and repeat business through your brand storytelling.
Plus, now you can arm your customers with stories that they can share with their world creating for you the most powerful form of advertising there is: FREE word-of-mouth marketing.
In our last episode of Chapter 9, Victory, I shared one of the learning moments from my mastery course when I showed you the difference between Bill Gates’s and Steve Jobs’s communication styles and how Jobs owned Gates with his storytelling.
Since then, I listened to the famed biographer Walter Isaacson on Lex Fridman’s incredible podcast episode #395 sharing his views on great storytelling. Isaacson has written best-selling biographies on Leonardo Da Vinci, Ben Franklin, Jennifer Doudna, and Steve Jobs. His latest book is called Elon telling Elon Musk’s story.
In a Fast Company article, Adele Peters wrote, “Two-thirds (of consumers) said they’d consider the company’s purpose when deciding what to buy, and 71% said they’d buy from a purpose-driven company over the alternative if cost and quality were equal. Sixty-two percent said that they thought it was important to consider purpose even when making an impulse buy.”
But most companies aren’t connecting with caring consumers because they haven’t developed and articulated what their brand stands for that is greater than just making money.
In Jim Stengle’s 2011 book, Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s Greatest Companies, he examines 50 purpose-driven brands that outperformed the S&P 500 by 400 percent during the global recession precisely because they understood their guiding ideal.
In Chapter 9 of Brand Bewitchery called Moral, we use all of the elements of the previous eight steps of the Story Cycle System™ to help you reveal and articular your brand purpose.
Let’s reexamine the brand purposes of the companies that you have been introduced to through this guidebook:
- Airloom is an all-natural allergy supplement, but its greater purpose is to help people inhale a healthy dose of life. Let’s take it a step further. The purpose of Oasis LLC, the makers of Airloom, is to ameliorate human suffering.
- Ecodriving Solutions provides fleet driver training programs to fulfill its purpose of helping people arrive healthy, happy, and safe.
- While most people think of Goodwill Industries as running thrift stores that fund their workforce development programs, they truly exist to help people realize the treasure of a good job.
- Adelante Healthcare is a community health center fulfilling its purpose of providing sustainable healthcare for all.
- Global Water is a water utility, but it exists to help people access the renewable resource of water so they can flourish.
- Red Bull exists to give wings to people and ideas.
- Airbnb exists to help people feel like they belong anywhere.
- Prêt, Auto, Partez sells used cars to at-risk buyers. But this is just the brand’s vehicle to serve its purpose of helping people get back on the road to financial freedom.
- Crystal Head Vodka exists to help people enlighten their creative spirit.
From the list above, which is more intoxicating to you: the product or the purpose?
I was never a huge Star Trek fan but I can appreciate the impact it has had on science fiction, TV viewing and storytelling.
It might have been the corny visual effects. I swear I saw drywall fall from the ceiling of the bridge during a Klingon attack as Scotty pleaded, “I’m giving her all she’s got, captain.”
Or maybe it was the planetary sets that looked like something our high school theater troupe would create.
But one thing that always tickled my fancy was the left-brain/right-brain give-and-take of the calculated, logic-driven Spock communicating with the emotion-laden Captain Kirk.
Think about it, wasn’t Star Trek prescient on how we find ourselves communicating today: High-tech AI vs high-touch human-centric storytelling.
That’s why I’m so excited to have Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, join us today to explore the collision of these two worlds and what it means to us as storytellers.
Ann recently published the second edition of Everybody Writes: Your New and Improved Go-To-Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content.
#430: Ch. 8, Victory: How to Celebrate Wins on the Customer Journey From Brand Awareness to Appreciation
#430: Ch. 8, Victory: How to Celebrate Wins on the Customer Journey From Brand Awareness to Appreciation
When I teach the Story Cycle System™ through my Business of Story mastery course, I ask my participants to define their ideal outcome from a sale presentation, ad campaign, social post, podcast, etc.
Their answers are always the same. They want to hit home runs in the form of a signed purchase order, new customer, viral engagement, etc.
I agree. These are awesome outcomes.
But not realistic most of the time because people are often not ready to buy immediately unless you show up selling a fire extinguisher to a driver whose RV is on fire alongside the road.
My recommendation is to focus on the singles; those small victories that you can celebrate with your prospect along the customer journey of…
- Brand Awareness
- Brand Adoption
- Brand Appreciation
In our last show, Chapter 7 of Brand Bewitchery called “Journey,” you learned how to use our AAA (Awareness, Adoption, Appreciation) customer journey map and more importantly, what stories to tell in each act based on your nine one-word descriptors from Chapter 6 called “Mentor”.
Now, how do you design in small milestones of success along your audience’s journey so that you can celebrate these small victories with them along the way?
It’s important because this is where true trust is built and brand bonding truly takes off.
In this episode on Chapter 8, Victory, will show you how to design customer victories to payoff your stories big time.