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 important narrative frameworks like the ABT (And, But, Therefore) are to compelling storytelling, especially in leadership communications. Without proper structure, your stories are a jumbled mess.
But even if you have narrative structure down, what are the other components that will make your stories irresistible, like triggering emotion?
We explored that question on this episode of The Business of Story with Erik Ewers, Senior Editor and Co-Director with Ken Burns at Florentine Films and Co-Founder of Ewers Brothers Productions.
Erik’s latest film, Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness, is a production he co-directed with his brother Chris Ewers in conjunction with Ken Burns that premiered on PBS in June 2022.
Erik has worked at Florentine Films for 30 years joining the company in 1991, weeks after the epic 9-part Civil War series premiered on PBS to some 40 million viewers. That made Burns and the Ken Burns Effect to motion editing with still images part of the American storytelling lexicon.
Erik is co-Director and editor on nearly all of Ken’s single and multi-episodic films, including “Baseball,” “The War,” “The Vietnam War,” “Country Music,” “Ernest Hemingway” and “Jazz.”
In 2015, Erik collaborated with Ken to create the two-hour PBS film The Mayo Clinic: Faith, Hope, Science, serving as director and editor. Their partnership continues in an upcoming miniseries on America’s adult mental health crisis, and a documentary biography of Henry David Thoreau.
Erik has been nominated for more than seven personal and program Emmy Awards and has received one editing Emmy and three program Emmys, as well as two prestigious ACE Eddie Award nominations and one ACE for “Best Edited Documentary of 2015.”
You have a promising Main Street business and you want to 10x the growth of your brand by telling your story.
But the storytelling thing isn’t happening because you’re swamped with other tasks to run a thriving business.
Where do you start? Where do you find your stories? How do you tell them with power?
Meet Samatha Scholl. She is the Director of Entrepreneur Programs for the Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest (BBB) directing the Empower by Go Daddy Main Street business incubator.
Sam, alongside her team, is responsible for the design and facilitation of entrepreneur programs that provide education, tools, resources, networking, and mentorship opportunities for entrepreneurs, nonprofits, small business owners, and her community.
As a podcast host, you receive a lot of advertising, sales and marketing books to consider for your show.
But did you know that about 400,000 books are published every day? If just one percent of those are on sales and marketing, that’s 40,000 books in the category competing for attention and every 24 hours.
So you might imagine that most of them are rehashes of the same themes. You’d be right.
That’s why I love Nancy Harhut’s new book, Using Behavioral Science in Marketing: Drive customer action ad loyalty by prompting instinctive responses. She reveals how you can leverage the embedded behaviors or heuristics that motivate and drive consumer buying behaviors.
Nancy is the co-founder and chief creative officer of HBT Marketing. Getting people to take action is what Nancy is all about. Nancy has learned how people make buying decisions for emotional reasons and later justify those decisions with rational, logic-driven reasons. I always say, “Sell to the heart and the head will follow.”
Her specialty is blending best-of-breed creative with behavioral science to prompt response. She has held senior creative management positions with agencies within the IPG and Publicis networks.
Nancy and her teams have won over 200 international and national awards for marketing effectiveness. Along the way, she’s helped generate $68 million in incremental revenue for Nationwide, established seven controls for the GM Card, and created one of H&R Blocks’ most successful campaigns.
For many, a successful business is all about scalability. You want to gain more customers, so you optimize your product offering, reduce inefficiencies, minimize costs, master your marketing funnel and sell more products to more customers. No problem. Now it’s even possible with some service-based businesses.
But having people buy into something more intangible – a mission – is a different animal.
Fortunately, the value of connection is more powerful than ever. People want to be part of something. They want something to believe in. Maybe they want to help make a difference. By utilizing the powers of story, connection, experience and community, your association can thrive and grow its membership, even in trying times.
Sean Soth is the Leadership Advisory Board Chair of Professionals for Association Revenue, a member organization focused on improving association revenue health through community and resources. Sean says your success is based on how well you tell the story of your organization through the amazing stories found in your community.
Sean is a recognized business development expert who has led multiple sales portfolios in a variety of industries including life sciences, legal, government contracting, association management, training and development, and healthcare. In these relationships, Sean’s teams surpass budget objectives, while launching new program and product development for hundreds of clients per year.
In addition to his role with Professionals for Association Revenue (PAR), Sean is owner of Hi-Fidelity Group, Inc. a managed sales and marketing firm focused on exhibit and sponsorship sales and a Co-Founder of Webvent, a digital platform for webcast management and online directories for associations.
If you’re trying to recruit, retain and grow your membership for a community or an association and you want to replace your boring, rational promotions with emotional triggers to get your prospects and members to act, then this show is for you.
Discussed in this episode:
- How story can connect members and stakeholders to aligned outcomes
- Why your mission story matters to build emotional connection with your membership
- Why every association must embrace change
- The differences between selling physical products vs. selling a mission and community
- The art of establishing lasting connection to your brand through your stakeholders stories and experiences
- Connect with Sean on LinkedIn
- Professionals for Association Revenue (PAR)
- The Society for Clinical Research Sites (SCRS)
- Hi-Fidelity Group
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You know the importance of community building around your brand to grow your business.
But your community may not be growing as fast as you like because other business priorities are sucking your time and energy away from one of your most important brand-building activities.
Pablo Gonzalez, founder and CEO of BeTheStage.live, and host of the B2B Community Builder and Not Your Average Investor podcasts, is obsessed with human connection.
Benjamin Franklin once said that “in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.”
I think I might add to that death, taxes AND insurance. Insurance to most of us is a necessary evil and one most of us don’t want to have to figure out, haggle over, pay for, and bitch about deductibles when our premiums already seem over the top.
So how do you make insurance appealing to customers when what most insurance salesmen sell are the numbers? Our guest today has some thoughts on how to turn NUMBers into visceral experiences that your audience can’t ignore.
Heather Pierce leads the communications and content strategy team for Leavitt Group, a top 20 national insurance brokerage firm. Her marketing success in the highly logic-driven, paint-by-numbers insurance world is due to how she and her colleagues personalize numbers by telling authentic human-interest stories.
A few weeks ago, I was doing some one-on-one storytelling coaching with Sabrina Hansen, Senior Director of Strategic Relationships 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 that 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.
On today’s show, Sabrina shares how she learned to use tales about her personal moments that have shaped who she is today.
She uses her moments to build trust with her colleagues, clients and the communities she serves.
You know how important it is to come up with brilliant ideas and the stories to communicate them to grow your business. You’ve tried countless ideation methods to keep those ideas flowing.
But nothing seems to work consistently. It’s frustrating.
Perhaps the 3G process of Goal, Gap and Gain might be your answer.
I found this three-step ideation process intriguing because the goal/gap/gain method is another example of the tripartite structure of storytelling. Like the ABT (And, But, Therefore). Setup/Problem/Resolution. Our brain LOVES this structure to ideas and the stories that communicate them.
On today’s show, you’ll learn how to put the 3G ideation process to work for you from its creator.
Robin Landa is a distinguished professor at Kean University and a globally recognized ideation expert. Robin is a best-selling author of 25 books on creativity, branding, advertising, and design including her new book, The New Art of Ideas: Unlock Your Creative Potential and Strategic Creativity: A Business Field Guide to Advertising, Branding and Design.
Robin believes that people share brand stories that resonate with them.
You and I live in a land of abundance. We have myriad choices of what brand to buy from. Scarcity is not the market dynamic it once was.
So as a sales and marketing leader, you must find a way for your product or service to stand out from the crowd by sharing the story of what you stand for.
But what DO you stand for? Without answering this question in an authentic way, you will remain viewed as a commodity, which impacts pricing, margins and growth.
Today, you’ll learn from Jason Harris, the Co-Founder and CEO of Mekanism, an award-winning New York-based creative advertising agency and author of The Soulful Art of Persuasion: The 11 Habits That Will Make Anyone a Master Influencer.
Jason works closely with iconic brands including Peloton, Ben & Jerry’s, Jose Cuervo, Alaska Airlines, Charles Schwab and OkCupid through a blend of creativity and performance, an approach they call Soul + Science.
Under his leadership, Mekanism was most recently named Independent Agency of the Year by The Drum, and ranked by the Effie Index as a top 10 Most Effective Independent Agency in the United States. Mekanism has also been named to Ad Age’s Agency A-list and twice to their Best Places to Work.
We all nerd out.
We get overzealous with our inventions. Gleefully share our innovation. Blather on and on about the uniqueness of our product or service or initiative.
We presume that our audience knows everything we know about what we’re trying to communicate. It’s obvious, right? At least to us.
But the “Curse of Expert” is a pandemic that impacts us all. Are you and your communications suffering from it?
Your job is to translate your brilliance into bite-sized stories so the people we’re connecting with *get it* immediately.
An anecdote is the antidote for obfuscation.
Today, you’ll learn how to turn nerd speak into business solutions using the ABT agile narrative framework from the co-authors of the new book:
Dr. Marlis Douglas and Dr. Keisha Bahr have dedicated their science careers to making their complex messages simple so that everyone in the room understands and appreciates the important projects they’re working on.
They both believe:
Scientists are curious and quite creative AND IF they are good at storytelling, THEN they can persuade that science can help.
BUT, scientists are bad at storytelling, because they are too detail-oriented and don’t think about how to relate to non-scientists.
THEREFORE, training scientists in storytelling helps them focus their messaging and the ABT provides an agile framework so scientists can be part of the solution, and not the problem.
Dr. Marlis Douglas is an endowed professor in Biological Sciences at the University of Arkansas (since 2012). Her conservation genetics/genomics research on fish and wildlife informs management and guides conservation planning across the globe.