Telling An Authentic Story
Spend time perfecting your story. If you can tell it over and over with ease, accuracy and authenticity, you have it made.
Robert McKee is the dean of storytelling (his course graduates have won 65 Oscars, 200 Emmys and 100 Writers Guild of America Awards). He also consults with corporations around the world, teaching what has come to be known as Storynomics, the art of using story as a corporate marketing strategy.
As humans, we absorb millions of pieces of data every day. Our respective minds automatically sort through all this data and decide what is relevant and irrelevant. Almost 99% of this information is discarded; only 1% is tagged for further attention.
Your brain likes to turn this remaining 1% of data into stories. Humans are storytelling machines because stories help us understand the world around us and our place in this world. Recent MRI research has shown that our brains are hardwired this way. We love to tell stories, we love to share them and we love to hear them.
Let’s run through storytelling in its purest form:
- As the story begins, the central character’s life, as expressed by core values (happiness/sadness, for instance), is in balance.
- Then, something happens that upsets this balance and changes a core value one way or the other (happy to sad, love to hate, etc.).
- Balance must be restored, so the character acts in their own interest.
- Because of these actions, the core values have been changed back to being in relative balance (sad becomes love again, or dissatisfaction becomes satisfaction).
How does that work in story-driven marketing for a business?
- As the story begins, the new homeowner (central character) is so excited (core value) to host Thanksgiving for the first time.
- Then the dishwasher breaks (the inciting incident). The homeowner is freaked out because it’s the day before Thanksgiving and 20 guests are expected.
- They dread doing all those dishes by hand. Then they remember that your company has a special holiday emergency service and gives you a call.
- Your repair person shows up, fixes the dishwasher and saves Thanksgiving.
- The customer doesn’t have to do the dishes and tells all their dinner guests about your amazing emergency service. They also share the story with all their friends on social media, creating even more awareness about your company.