Creating Cool Stuff with Storytelling

For a whole host of reasons, I’ve become obsessed with the idea that most of process of bringing cool stuff to life is about telling great stories.  Great stories are a way to communicate a complex value proposition, evoke emotions, relate a new offering back to its brand, or to shape the Reflective elements of a design that create "brand" in the first place.  And storytelling is a wonderful way — perhaps the only way — for innovators to convince key stakeholders, partners, and collaborators of the worth of their quest.

Storytelling holds the potential to take business thinking from the cold, dry left-brain world of 4P’s and 5C’s and 6 sigma to a warm, rich world of ethos and pathos.  It’s about being human. 

Example:  when I was marketing QuickBooks Online, I had a helluva job on my hands:  how do I convince really busy, really technology wary, really penny-wise small business people to adopt a non-sexy accounting software solution that requires the use of a scary new technology platform (the Internet) and a strange business/transaction model (software as service)?  I spent months iterating my way to what, in retrospect, is an obvious solution: tell stories.  And not just any stories, but stories told by users themselves, telling them in a "keep it real" kind of way.  As you can see here, I created stories using raw, basic photos, and didn’t do anything to edit the verbatim words of my customers.  Zilch, nada, nothing.  In turn, these stories are compelling to prospective customers because they ring true, plain and simple.  They’re good stories in a way that a traditional software industry white paper could never be.

This is why I can’t wait to start reading John Winsor’s book Beyond the Brand.  On his blog he provides a nice excerpt which explains the key elements of compelling storytelling:

  • Context
  • Simplicity
  • Interest
  • Trust
  • Meaning
  • Connectedness
  • Magic
  • Relevance
  • Immediacy

See the rest of his blog post here.  I, for one, look forward to using his wisdom to enhance my ability to tell good stories.

2 thoughts on “Creating Cool Stuff with Storytelling

  1. Thanks, Diego. I’m stoked you liked the comments on storytelling. There is magic in the ability to tell a good story. It’s a craft in which everyone who pursues it is constantly challenged to change and grow.

  2. Great post. There’s an article you might find interesting in the Harvard Business Review called “Telling Tales” that looks into the types of stories that can be used to drive organizational change.

Comments are closed.