What is Storytelling in Business?

About Author Graham Brown

Graham Brown is the founder of Pikkal & Co – performance communication agency responsible for producing Award Winning Podcasts for business brands. Clients including McKinsey, Julius Baer, IBM and the Singapore Government. Investors and Advisors from Netflix, Intel, Apple and iQiYi. He is a published Amazon author covering human communication technologies, marketing and branding. He has produced over 1,000 podcast episodes and webinar shows with notable shows including the Tony Fernandes Podcast. Graham is a graduate in Artificial Intelligence and is currently leading Pikkal & Co to use Machine Learning and Conversation Analytics to automate the heavy lifting of communication to elevate the human touch.

Stories Influence and Engage

Define: Business Storytelling
Business Storytelling – communication that leads, influences and engages with the ultimate goal of creating positive change.

Stories, for many, are “Little Red Riding Hood”, “The Mahabharat” and “Marvel’s Avengers”.

Yes, we can learn a lot from how these tales engage and influence. But, what many fail to do is translate that psychological advantage into the world of business or government. Those that do – Steve Jobs, Jack Ma, Jacinda Ardern, Lee Kuan Yew etc – we call “genius”.

What makes these people achieve better results than most people is they don’t communicate like “most people”.

They tell Stories.

Think how this important is in current times, where we live in a world of noise and Crisis.

“Flattening the Curve” was one of the most effective stories told in recent years. It was a chart. You might not demons and angels, mentors and accidental heroes in that curve but, believe me, they exist. That’s where you need to be skilled Storyteller.

Today, the Digital Transformation of Communication is challenging Comms Leaders not just to “do digital” but to also “be digital”. This means using Communications not as a pipeline of “executive privilege” but a channel to empower leadership at all levels of the organisation.

Define: Digital Transformation of Communication

Digital Transformation of Communication – the evolution of traditional corporate communication “Pipelines” into communication “Platforms” using Digital channels like Podcasts.

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B2B Podcasts are a powerful tool to create Conversations at Scale within large Enterprise and Government Agencies because they create a human communication interface between internal leadership and the outside world. These interfaces are well suited to allow Leadership to tell stories in an engaging, authentic and agile manner.

The Storytelling tools you need to communicate effectively are already out there, in 1000s of years of our cultural history, you just need to open your eyes to them.

How Stories Sold the iPhone

Steve Jobs understood the Storytelling Effect very well and put it into good practise:

Define: The Storytelling Effect

Stories take the unknown future and connect with a known or experienced past.

When Steve Jobs launched the iPhone he leveraged the “3 Box Transformation” storytelling strategy shared at the end of this book.

When engineers first debuted traffic lights in the 19th century, they used an “Analogy”. Analogies are a powerful type of story, a category I call “shortform”, which you’ll learn later in this book.

The London Underground “Tube” Map is a fantastic example of “Data Storytelling”. Yes Maps very much are stories. And a key part of being a good Storyteller is choosing the Map by which people see the world.

Energy drink Red Bull’s success was due to a type of story called a “Strategic Narrative”. Strategic Narratives define and lead categories.

When India achieved independence from The British Empire, it was due to a Story told – not by a politician or a general – but by someone who was a highly gifted Storyteller.

The Digital Transformation of AirAsia led by CEO Tony Fernandes isn’t a strategy, it’s a Story. “This is the story of the Airline we want to become.”

The reason your best guy left the team last week was because of a Story told somewhere else, or a Story you didn’t tell well enough.

Investors buy Stories, not Stocks or Products.

Stories took us to the Moon.

Story changes everything.

So how does Story actually impact your business?

How Stories Impact the Bottom Line

There are distinct business benefits of podcasts that Comms Leaders and CXOs should consider.

Think of all your KPI:

– Sales, cashflow, fundraising, product launch success, innovation. getting hired, market share, employee engagement, thought leadership and public awareness

These KPI are all trailing indicators. Think of them as the “downstream” of a river reaching the ocean.

The water source “upstream” is your story. In business, Story is your leading indicator.

So, if you are a changemaker, and I guess you are because you picked up this book, your story begins with leaving the old world behind.

That means picking up your stick and leaving the comfortable world of boring Powerpoint presentations, meaningless data, disengaged teams and failed investor pitches.

It’s not going to be easy, but like all adventures, it’s going to be worthwhile.

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About Author Graham Brown

Graham Brown is the founder of Pikkal & Co – performance communication agency responsible for producing Award Winning Podcasts for business brands. Clients including McKinsey, Julius Baer, IBM and the Singapore Government. Investors and Advisors from Netflix, Intel, Apple and iQiYi. He is a published Amazon author covering human communication technologies, marketing and branding. He has produced over 1,000 podcast episodes and webinar shows with notable shows including the Tony Fernandes Podcast. Graham is a graduate in Artificial Intelligence and is currently leading Pikkal & Co to use Machine Learning and Conversation Analytics to automate the heavy lifting of communication to elevate the human touch.
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