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 work hard to tell your brand, sales and marketing stories. You know that if they resonate with your prospects, buyers, customers and colleagues, then you will move them to action.
But you’re not resonating like you could because you’re NOT telling the most important story to them at precisely the right time from their point of view.
Today, you’ll learn how to truly understand where your prospect is on their buyer journey and how to trigger their desire to buy what you have to offer.
Doug Utberg is a business growth authority and host of the Terminal Value podcast. He shares how to engage at the current level of awareness your prospect has about you and your offering to connect on a primal level with their buying brain. We explore the trends in agile organizations and communications and you’ll learn about the Collier Principle on how to enter the conversation already going on in your customer’s mind.
Knowing where you’re audience is relative to their awareness and understanding of your offering is crucial in all sales and marketing, especially if you’re developing an affiliate marketing program.
In 2016, I helped Luis Miguel, the founder of the international translation firm Avantpage, clarify their brand story using the Story Cycle System™. Since then, his company has grown to 50 people and has offices around the world.
Luis and his marketing manager Roxanne Addison discuss how their brand story unites their people, attracts precisely the right customer, and provides the aspirational North Star for everyone to shoot for.
The following is an excerpt from my book Brand Bewitchery: How to Wield the Story Cycle System™ to Craft Spellbinding Stories for Your Brand, which will provide the backstory for this episode’s conversation.
HOW SOCIAL RESISTANCE PROVIDES BRAND LIFT
Luis Miguel contacted me about helping refine Avantpage’s brand story. For the previous 22 years, Luis and his team had provided language translation services for government, elections officials, and healthcare and educational programs to help immigrants assimilate in this country. Avantpage is headquartered in Davis, California, and has offices in Mexico City and Warsaw, Poland.
In 1973, Luis Miguel traveled from his home in Mexico City to the Ozark Mountains in Missouri for summer camp. It was his first visit to the United States. He was 15 years old. He was excited to experience America, but his excitement quickly dimmed when a boy at camp referred to Luis using a term he had never heard before.
Being bookish, Luis returned home and looked up the meaning of wetback.
Five years later, with imperfect language skills, Luis returned to America to study at the University of Colorado at Boulder, but the university seemed cold and intimidating. So he moved to the University of California at Davis, to study agriculture and worked with migrant families in appalling farm conditions. Luis graduated and earned his PhD in computer science at the University of California at Berkeley.
But he never forgot those migrant families. A few years later, Luis and his wife began a family of their own.
“I realized that the difference for kids is where they are born.
These experiences made me sensitive to the plight of immigrants in the US and especially those who need special language support to connect with the people and institutions of America.”
In 1996, Luis started Avantpage, an international translation firm. He combined the need for linguistics with compassion and empathy for immigrants. Luis, following many rough experiences assimilating into America, wished to help others realize their American dream. He wanted to create a translation company like no other that connects people, cultures, and communities. And the nationalism and polarization he sees growing around the world gives him the will to make an even greater difference in immigrant lives.
But Luis realized that their specialized translation work wasn’t being recognized. The Avantpage brand blended in with myriad other translation firms. He knew it was time to refresh the company’s brand story to ensure its growth and sustainability.
But many obstacles stood in his way, including the risk of being commoditized in a crowded translation market. This market pressure, like other incidents that have propelled Luis’ story forward, is what prompted him to seek us out and write the next chapter of the Avantpage story.
The return on his new brand story has already been impressive, including:
- Thirty percent more new business prospects since launching Avantpage’s refreshed brand story.
- Avantpage’s organic search rankings dramatically improved because its new brand narrative focused on the SEO terms most relevant to its offering.
- The website conversion rate quadrupled because now Avantpage is speaking the language of its ideal customer.
- Since rebranding, Avantpage has experienced a 200 percent increase in applicants who mention that they feel connected to the brand’s new mission of helping immigrants.
- Avantpage reports a “massive increase” in employee interaction and enthusiasm for its refreshed brand.
On today’s show, we explore how to take the Avantpage brand story of Empathy Beyond Words and leverage it to attract a new market in the healthcare industry.
A few weeks ago I was doing some one-on-one storytelling coaching with Sabrina Hansen, , Director of Marketing and Outreach at Embark Behavioral Health, followed by a half-day session with their team. She was preparing her speech for their conference and had this line in it that I love…
“Be the best part of someone’s day.”
In fact, I loved it so much I pulled out my dad’s old label maker and punched out that saying and attached it to my monitor as a reminder to be the best part of someone’s day.
Today’s guest, Tommy Mello, Owner and Operator of A1 Garage Door Service, exemplifies that sentiment, one he learned from his mom.
Tommy tells stories to connect with everyone from his colleagues to his customers. He demonstrates the ROI of storytelling by growing from a single shop in Phoenix Arizona to a $100 million-plus home service business with more than 600 people operating in 17 states and growing.
He follows a philosophy of working smart, building the right connections, and being 100 percent committed to supporting his team in every aspect of their lives. He provides employees with business development and life coaching opportunities and he spends a significant time on local philanthropic efforts.
Tommy is also the Author of the book Home Service Millionaire and his new book Elevate coming early next year.
How well is your life purpose aligned with what you and your people value in your business?
How well does your brand reflect what you stand for in the world? Marketing pundits say that more and more customers are evaluating a business’s positive impact on the planet – its brand purpose – before they buy.
You’ll learn the power of aligning your purpose and values and how to tell that story.
Jeff Dudan is the Chairman and CEO of Homefront Brands, a platform of property service franchisors. He believes that the success of their franchisees strengthens the foundation of our economy, provides stability in the lives of our franchise operators, and expands the reach and relevance of the franchise industry sector, which reflects their purpose statement: Homefront Brands exist to inspire entrepreneurs to take action and positively impact communities, franchisees, employees, and families.
Jeff authored his latest book Discernment: The Business Athletes Regimen for a Great Life through Better Decisions. He is a Forbes contributor, speaker, and consultant to emerging brands as well as serving YPO as Chapter Chair of the Southeast Regional US Chapter.
Jeff’s journey as an entrepreneur began as a college athlete who founded a business to paint student housing. After graduation, he assisted South Florida in recovering from Hurricane Andrew, which led to the launch of AdvantaClean in 1994. As a leading national restoration franchise, AdvantaClean became a strategic partner with St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital to support families in need. In January 2019, AdvantaClean was acquired by Home Franchise Concepts (HFC).
Jeff’s family values include:
Live fun. Be humble. Respect others. Trust yourself to take chances and fail fast. Always do more than is expected. Never panic.
You’ve been listening to The Business of Story – maybe even some of you for seven years – and you’ve grown as a confident and compelling communicator.
But how do you know your storytelling is actually working? Hitting the mark? Moving prospects, customers and your people emotionally. Exciting them to action?
You’re getting a lot of thumbs-ups and likes and smiling emojis, but are they translating into sales? And by sales, I mean anything that you are trying to get your audience to *buy into*, including your product or service, your vision, your mission, and your way of doing things.
Today’s guest believes he has the answer using a Fitbit, iPhone or any digital device that monitors your nervous system and therefore the emotional impact of your stories.
Dr. Paul Zak, author of the new book, Immersion: The Science of the Extraordinary and the Source of Happiness, is a Professor at Claremont Graduate University. Paul is in the top 0.3% of most cited scientists. A four-time tech entrepreneur, his most recent company Immersion Neuroscience is a software platform that allows anyone to measure what the brain loves in real-time to improve outcomes in entertainment, education and training, advertising and live events.
He is a regular TED speaker and has appeared on Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, Fox & Friends, ABC Evening News, with his work covered by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time, The Economist, Scientific American, Fast Company, Forbes, and many others.
Paul is the author of The Moral Molecule: The Source of Love and Prosperity and his new book, Immersion: The Science of the Extraordinary and the Source of Happiness.
Growing up in a difficult family financial situation was the impetus for Brandon Bornancin’s success. His mom worked at a grocery store and bank with no college degree. His dad worked at Macy’s. No college degree.
They lived off coupon clippings and bought their clothes at thrift stores before that was cool.
He and his sister were taken to endless garage sales to furnish their home.
His first job as a teenager was as a high school janitor working from 4 am to whenever the jog of scraping gum off the bottom of desks took.
Then he was introduced to sales in his second job at a call center for $7.50 per hour plus commission to get people to donate to the fire and police departments. That’s when he first recognized the power of storytelling to persuade and move people to action.
“Viewing everything as a positive opportunity. Life happens for you not to you,” is one of Brandon’s focuses.
The power of positivity will change your whole mindset.
Brandon grew his multi-million-dollar sales career but at the expense of time with his family. So he automated his sales prospecting with his new platform called Seamless.AI
Author of Whatever it Takes: Master the Habits to Transform Your Business, Your Relationships, And Life, Brandon is the #1 best-selling author of 3 books, a serial salesperson (sold over $100M in sales), eight-figure entrepreneur (2x), and motivational speaker who is obsessed with helping you maximize your success.
He wrote Whatever it Takes for his 500 employees at Seamless.AI. It was so successful with his people that they suggested he release it to the world.
On today’s show, Brandon shares the top three habits you can change to make your life and career easier and more profitable, because as he says, “Life if f’ing short!”
I met today’s guest, Kyle Porter, while being in a panel discussion with him, Tamsen Webster and Miri Rodriquez on the Christine Gritmon Social Media Pulse podcast.
I was impressed with Kyle’s background and how he learned to use storytelling in his brand work, especially the use of The Hero’s Journey. We all follow this monomythic structure that shapes our epic and mundane life events popularized by America’s foremost mythologist Joseph Campbell.
But if you’re not paying attention to where you are while on your Hero’s Journey, then you may find yourself lost.
Today we talk about how you can use this mythic story structure to scale your storytelling and measure your achievements along the way.
Kyle Porter is Conklin Media’s Director of Strategy out of Atlanta, Georgia. He’s responsible for organizing the overall direction of client campaigns, making sure that clients are able to meet their business goals and coordinating the work that each of our departments do on client projects.
Kyle uses storytelling frameworks to not only ensure the organizations he represents are on the right path to success, but to build the trusted bonds and relationships we all need to succeed.
“You have to take the time to show people that they’re important to you,” he says. “It’s the little things you do day after day that really build that strong foundation.”
For Kyle, the North Star is always making sure that clients get a clear return on their investment. He believes that we have an obligation to be clear about the business results we’re getting and the value that we’re providing.
Outside of work, Kyle loves to hang out with his kids, take his wife on dates, play with his dogs, and hit the gym. He’s also a big Georgia Bulldogs football fan and an avid reader (mostly marketing books with some epic fantasy mixed in too).
If you’re using proven storytelling structures like the ABT (And, But, Therefore) agile narrative framework, then your messages are clearer and have a much greater speed to impact.
But do you feel like you’re wasting time sharing the same sales story, onboarding session or training over and over again? Even though you have your story straight, you are getting bored telling it.
Today’s guest had the same problem as she found herself burning valuable time hosting the same webinar countless times. It was eating at her freedom to do the things she really loved. So she did something about it.
Melissa is the co-founder and CEO of eWebinar, an automated webinar solution that combines pre-recorded video with real-time interactions and live chat to deliver an engaging experience for attendees.
eWebinar is the byproduct of Melissa living in “webinar hell” for five years in her previous startup. By automating her storytelling, over 2,000 people have joined the eWebinar demo on their own time in the last 10 months, 25% converted (signed up for free trial) on their own without talking to a soul.
She believes that the power of storytelling can be scaled once you nail that pitch 🙂
“As a startup founder, all I do is tell stories every day. Stories to inspire my cofounder, my team, and my customers. One of the things I do best is to sell something that doesn’t exist yet and to get a business going from 0 to 1, and that’s all storytelling,” Melissa said.
- A lot of times, what you are saying is not what’s being heard. The best salespeople know how to align the two
- By using a framework to tell your story, you can guide people to your desired outcome
- Nobody is born a great salesperson, sales is a science which means anyone can get really good at it
Melissa spent 10 years with two startups (eWebinar is her third) and for eight of those 10 years, she struggled to get things going.
“There were many times that I could have and should have failed, but I kept pushing through and luckily, my previous startup was acquired in 2019. Going through those 10 years was almost like going through 10 years of school, which has given me the knowledge and experience to do what I do today.,” she said.
You may or may not be in the tech world but you have a complex story to tell.
If you can connect on deep level with your prospects resonating with how you can make their life easier, better and more profitable, then the world is truly your oyster.
But you’re probably not connecting because you’re leading with logic and reason when what your audience really wants is the emotional pull of a story.
Today’s show is for you to show you how to turn your technical jargon, features, functions, and data into an emotional drama that will ignite your sales.
Kari Nelson is the Marketing Director, Construction Division, MEP (Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing Engineering) for Trimble, Inc.,
Founded in 1978, Trimble is a Sunnyvale, California-based software, hardware, and services technology company that supports global industries in building & construction, agriculture, geospatial, natural resources and utilities, governments, transportation and others.
Kari’s background and expertise have focused on numerous digital transformation technologies, including servers, storage, networking, professional services, software, virtualization, ITaaS, and now construction management software.
Before joining Trimble, Kari was at Cherwell Software and spent over 15 years with Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
As an innovative and collaborative marketing executive with 15+ years’ experience in IT infrastructure (ITaaS), services, and software (SaaS) sectors, Kari generates winning, cohesive marketing strategies, prove their value, and then makes them happen—building and leading dedicated teams along the way.
Storytelling is the magic she uses to ensure “it’s all about the customer, all the time,” and thereby connect with buyers and improve customer engagement.
The B2B marketing programs Kari has created include content marketing, value proposition design, customer journey mapping, product marketing, competitive positioning, sales enablement, social media, website design, messaging, marketing technology, and analytics.
Career highlights include:
- Led cross-organizational initiatives. Designed demand generation campaigns that contributed to a boost in the $7+ billion sales pipeline attributed to marketing by inventing storytelling methodology that simplified creation and placement of content across multiple social and digital channels, leading to deeper target audience engagement and capture of new accounts.
- Empowered sales to sell integrated portfolio. Attained $200 million rise in server gross revenue by training 3,000+ resellers worldwide on solution selling for a suite of server, storage, networking, and services through 30 training events and six eLearning sessions translated into 14 languages.
- Aligned marketing and sales. Led effort to identify customer value drivers and distill company differentiators, and then evangelize these through seller training and tools, as well as create and promote new digital content across the Buyer’s Journey. (more…)
When someone asks you what you do, what do you tell them?
What is your personal brand story? What is the brand narrative for your offering?
When you nail your brand story, it’s concise (essentially a one-floor elevator pitch), crystal clear (your audience can’t help but get you), and compelling (it moves people to action, even if that is just asking for more details about you and your offering).
But defining your brand story is hard, unless you have a proven framework to use that clarifies your story, amplifies your impact, and simplifies your life.
Today’s guest, Daniel Nestle, learned first-hand on our show how to clarify the brand story for his amazing podcast, The Dan Nestle Show.
Dan, Leader, Communications & Corporate Responsibility at LIXIL Americas, is a global communications and marketing wizard with nearly two decades in the B2B services, manufacturing, finance, and education sectors. He specializes in digital communications, integrated marketing communications, content marketing, social media strategy, and brand storytelling.
Prior to joining LIXIL, Dan served as Vice President, Marketing and Communications at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, Inc. where he helped establish the global marketing communications team for this 130-year-old Japanese industrial conglomerate.
Prior to his roles with Mitsubishi Heavy, Dan held senior roles at Edelman and at AICPA. Earlier in his career, Dan spent 16 years living and working in Japan. He holds a Masters in Internet Marketing as well as a BA in International Relations. An active content creator, in 2020 he launched his bi-weekly podcast, The Dan Nestle Show, but is finally understanding how to frame his brand story.