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!
Are you a Business of Story fan?
Please leave a short review here, and tell us how you like the show!
134+ FIVE STAR reviews from our fans and couple of trolls:
- “Awesome, actionable and INTERESTING.”
- “Captivating and informative.”
- “Outstanding show. A must listen.”
- “I love the amount of tactical, strategic, and inspirational content in this podcast.”
- “An excellent resource for business communicators.”
- “Blown away!”
Subscribe to Top-Rated Storytelling Podcast and Make Your Brand Story Stand Out
You can find a number of customer journey maps that outline several important steps to help you turn prospects into life-long customers.
It’s critical to understand what stories to tell at each of the common customer journey steps including awareness, consideration, decision, purchase, retention, advocacy, etc.
But it’s complicated because there are many chapters to consider as your customer buys into your brand narrative and becomes part of your story. And every step requires its own story strategy.
We’ve made it easy by breaking your customer journey down to just three acts (you know, like a story).
- Brand Awareness
- Brand Adoption
- Brand Appreciation
We felt the need to simplify a truly effective customer journey strategy.
In Chapter 7 of Brand Bewitchery called “Journey,” you’ll learn 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”.
What stories do you tell when your prospect is just learning about your brand offering to invite them into experiencing your brand?
Or what stories do you tell to help them overcome the stories they are already telling themselves about your brand, your industry, or your competition? These may be anti-stories that you will have to overcome with a better story.
Jef Bezos is famous for saying your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.
To be more specific, I believe that your brand is the story people tell about you when you’re not in the room.
What stories do you tell and invite them into once they are in ACT II of Brand Adoption?
They are now active participants in your brand story. You want to be certain that you are not only delivering on the promises you make with your stories but also helping them recognize the progress they are making by investing time, money and effort in your offering.
A great story is always shareable and scaleable. So what stories do you tell in ACT III of Brand Appreciation that encourages your customers to share your story with their world?
This, of course, leads to the most powerful form of advertising: FREE word-of-mouth marketing.
Your brand and its story are an assemblage of what you value, believe and do.
But if you don’t pay close attention to how you assemble and communicate the meaning behind your brand then you stand to lose in the marketplace because you will blend in amid a myriad of competitors.
After all, we live in a land of abundance. Everyone including you has innumerable options when buying just about anything.
So how do you assemble your brand story that truly helps you stand out in the crowd?
Emmanuel Probst has a plan.
He is the Global Lead of brand thought leadership at Ipsos, an adjunct professor at the University of California at Los Angeles and a Wall Street Journal and USA Today best-selling author of Brand Hacks and his new book Assemblage.
He believes that brands can no longer force-feed us a plethora of products we don’t need. To succeed brands must transform us and the world we live in by creating transformative brands that combine personal, social and cultural attributes.
As I’ve often said, “The brand narrative that illustrates what you stand for is the platform your storytelling culture is built on to make you stand out.”
As founders/co-creators/owners of our brand, we love to share stories about the wonders of our product or service offering.
We created an offering that solves a real problem our customers care about so why not show our provide to the world?
They only care about the outcome: what’s in it for them!
That’s why the first five chapters of the 10-step Story Cycle System™ are pretty much all about your audience.
Sure, you focused on your core brand story in Chapter 1 called “Backstory,” when you determined your #1 position in the marketplace: what you do differently and more distinctively than your competition.
But this is written from your audience’s perspective. Again, what’s in it for them?
In chapters 2 through 5 you prioritized your top three audiences. Clarified their emotional “wishes” and physical “wants” that fulfill their wishes.
You crafted your unique value proposition that connects with their view of the world.
You determined what is disrupting their world that shakes them out of the status quo, and how you answer that disruption to make you the most timely, relevant and urgent offering to help them get what they want.
And you increased the brand story tension by embracing the obstacles and antagonists in the forms of villains, fog and crevasses using the energy of these competitive forces to propel your brand forward to faster success.
Now, in chapter 6 of Brand Bewitchery called “Mentor,” it is ALL about you. This is where you formulate your brand personality, the themes of your brand storytelling, and essentially the character of your mentor/guide character that your customers will seek out to help them on their journey.
You know what it’s like.
When you want something, the universe tends to punch you in the nose just to see how badly you really want it.
You can fear and flee the antagonistic forces that are out to thwart your brand, like aggressive competition, your blind spots, and gaps in your performance.
In chapter 5 of Brand Bewitchery, we put your unique value proposition to the test by showing you how to embrace your obstacles and antagonists and turn their energy in your favor.
You will not only identify these competitive forces that you help your customers overcome but you will also apply the same outing process to the villains, fog and crevasses that confront you personally and your brand professionally.
I’ll show you how…
Being embodied in her highest calling as an energy healer and guide was not always Grace’s reality.
Years ago, Grace was at her lowest point – burnt out in her career, trapped in a toxic relationship, and facing anxiety and chronic shoulder pain. Energy healing allowed her, as she says, “to take a deep breath of fresh air after being suffocated.”
As she healed herself, she left her job and toxic relationship, called in her soulmate, and followed her highest calling to treat individuals through Reiki and transformational energy healing.
Grace is the founder of Forward With Grace, the first spiritual consultancy of its kind facilitating transformations for CEOs, celebrities, and high-powered individuals from Silicon Beach to Malibu along with leading companies such as the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, Toms, Talkspace, Revolve, Dermalogica, and LiquidIV.
Her Reiki process focuses on self-reflection and helps you uncover the core moments and values that have shaped your journey.
Through storytelling techniques like crafting compelling narratives and using emotion and vivid imagery, Grace can make your stories memorable and impactful. Additionally, she emphasizes the importance of simplicity, distilling complex ideas into clear and concise messages.
In the first three episodes of the Brand Bewitchery series, we covered what is essentially Act 1 of the 10-step Story Cycle System.
In Chapter 1 called “Backstory,” you declared your #1 position in the marketplace: what you do differently and more distinctively than your competition.
In Chapter 2, Heroes, you prioritized your top three audiences and focused on your #1 customer as the central character or hero in your brand story.
In Chapter 3, you identified what’s at stake for your prospects and customers; what they emotionally wish to achieve, and what they physically want to invest in to fulfill their wish.
In today’s episode, we transition into ACT 2 starting in chapter four called Disruption.
You will identify what is changing in your customer’s world and how you are the most timely, relevant and urgent offering to help them navigate that change.
You will learn how to craft your unique value proposition (UVP) to find a clear theme for your brand narrative.
In the first three steps of the Story Cycle System™ to develop your brand narrative strategy, you started where every good story begins, sharing your backstory.
Your backstory is when you declare your #1 position in the market. What you do differently and more distinctively than anyone else.
Your backstory sets the stage to build your brand narrative.
Then you moved to chapter 2 of Brand Bewitchery called Hero’s. This is when you prioritized your top three audiences, the prospects and customers who are at the center of your brand story.
Now in chapter 3, Stakes, you’ll learn how to identify what your audiences truly want relative to your offering
It’s important to understand the difference between their wishes and wants because these two storytelling ingredients help you determine what stories to tell and when depending upon where they are on their journey with you.
I’ve often said that storytelling is the Jiu-jitsu of business communications because when done well, you can persuade even the most adversarial audiences and win them over to your way of thinking and doing.
But if you roll into these kinds of awkward and difficult conversations with a zero-sum, winner-take-all mindset through the brute force of your intellect and voraciousness of your argument, you will take a pounding.
After reading Rener Gracies’s new book, The 32 Principles: Harness the Power of Jiu-Jitsu to Succeed in Business, Relationships, and Life, which he co-wrote with Paul Volponi, I realized that every one of these principles can be applied to your approach to persuasive and influential leadership storytelling.
You can roll with my 32 principles of effective leadership storytelling inspired by Rener’s insights in a blog I just shared on businessofstory.com.
Given that I have never taken Jiu-Jitsu, I invited our son and fellow storyteller Parker Howell to co-host with me today. Parker is a purple belt in Jiu-Jitsu and like me was excited to meet today’s guest from the legendary Gracie family, Rener Gracie.
If you’ve ever attended one of my ABTs of Business Storytelling mastery courses, then you know the two major audience paradigm shifts I preach to connect deeply with the people you want to move to action.
- Your brand story is not about what you *make* but what you make happen in your customer’s life. Outcomes trump offerings in your stories every time.
- Your brand story is not about *you* but about your customer, they are the center of your story. You play the more important role of their mentor or guide.
But many people – even seasoned marketers – get this wrong because they are so enamored with their product or offering that their navel-gazing stories all about themselves and their product or service lead to their demise.
It reminds me of the cautionary tale of Narcissus. His story is the lead paragraph in chapter 2 of Brand Bewitchery, which is all about prioritizing your audiences and what it is they wish for and want from you.
Do you know it?
Narcissus was a brave hunter and unabashedly handsome. One day he was walking in the forest when the mountain nymph Echo saw him and fell deeply in love with him. Narcissus felt the presence of Echo and called out, “Who’s there?” Echo, in hiding, repeated, “Who’s there?” This exchange went on for days, which intrigued and, as you might imagine, slightly annoyed Narcissus.
Three years ago, I published Brand Bewitchery: How to Wield the Story Cycle System™ to Craft Spellbinding Stories for Your Brand.
The Story Cycle System is our proprietary brand narrative creation process that has grown brands by as much as 600 percent.
The Story Cycle System™ is distilled from the timeless narrative structure of the ancients, inspired by the story artists of Hollywood, influenced by masters of persuasions, guided by trendspotters, and informed by how the human mind grapples for meaning.
Most authors immediately produce the audio version of their book to publish on sites like audible.com.
But I didn’t because I was so busy coaching with my Business of Story mastery course and keynoting.
Lately, many people have asked me for the audio version of Brand Bewtichery. So I knew it was time to produce it.
I also knew it would take many hours in the studio reading the 250-page textbook on how to craft a winning brand story strategy.
So I decided to roll it out in a series of episodes right here on the Business of Story podcast.
To kick off the series, I share with you the chapter on how to use this guidebook followed by Chapter 1 called Backstory: How to Clarify Your Brand Story for Deliberate Growth.
On today’s show, you’ll learn how to define your #1 position in the market, essentially your backstory.
I’ll show you examples of brands that have done an excellent job defining what makes them different and more distinctive from their competitors. And you’ll learn an exercise or two to help you define your backstory: Your #1 position