I’m the child of socialist revolutionaries. Every weekend of the formative years of my life was spent at demonstrations, singing protest songs, giving out flyers… you get the picture.
Early on I learned to look below the surface, question the status quo and fight for change. Which has been a gift.
But my parents’ politics were also a source of pain and puzzlement.
The biggest unsolved riddle of my childhood was why we never, ever…won.
Despite all the pavement pounding we did for the Labour party, year after year, our arch-nemesis Maggie Thatcher was re-elected.
This confused my young brain.
In my beloved Star Wars and, in fact, all my other favourite movies and stories – the goodies, the underdogs, the heroes - always triumphed. In the battle of good and evil - good always wins. Doesn’t it?
I clearly saw that this just wasn’t the case in reality and I wanted to know why.
This triggered my lifelong fascination with the way our beliefs and values shape our behaviour; I even did a 3-year sociology degree to understand this better. The question that’s always intrigued me is, “how can we influence the way others think, feel and act?”
When I became a copywriter, I found my answer – stories.
We all carry stories.
Stories of our culture, background, family and childhood.
Stories of our failures; stories of our triumphs.
Stories that our society and the media feed us.
All stories that influence our values, beliefs and the way we see the world. All stories that other people can use and hijack to persuade us to think, feel and act the way they want.
As I wrote last June about Brexit; the stories and values politicians use to frame issues are far more important than the actual facts.
Case in point: Trump. It’s still almost impossible to believe that as this post goes live on our blog; he is being inaugurated.
How, against all expectation, did he elected? Partly because the stories he told during his campaign resonated with how many Americans were feeling. Regardless as to whether he had the facts to back them up, they were instrumental in his election.
But we can use stories for good, as well.
A recent New Scientist article concluded that stories will be pivotal in the fight against climate change and storytelling is a skill that both scientists and the progressive left need to master if they want to inspire people to act.
The same goes for you. If you’re building an innovative business, story is definitely your weapon of choice.
7 Business Storytelling Prompts for Innovators
If you’re running an innovative business, creating a product that will disrupt a legacy industry or fighting to change a traditional mindset; then you need a brilliant story. But your story can’t be too radical- the first job of your transformation story is to ground people in the familiar.
The following prompts, inspired by Get Storied’s Brand Storytelling framework, will help you get started in finding the gold in your story and crafting a message that redefines how people see you.
Take 20 minutes to answer these prompts and see what you uncover:
1) What have been the big turning points in your company’s history?
2) How is the world different today than it was 5 or 10 years ago?
3) What is possible today in the context of your industry that wasn’t just five or ten years ago?
4) What is changing, for your work to matter more now than ever before? How are the times ripe for your message?
5) What journey have you been on? What have you personally witnessed?
6) How would you describe the riddle you (or your organisation) are trying to solve? What is the quest you are on? What are you most curious about?
7) Where is the proof that this is real, that it exists, that this is possible?
These prompts ground the listener in the familiar and in stories that they can relate to. It makes them less resistant and more open to your point of view.
Now, can you weave this into a narrative that will inspire others?
And if you need any guidance, I’m here to help - book a Brain Blitz with me and in one hour, we’ll get you closer to crafting that game-changing story.