Compelling stories connect with values and spread ideas

Compelling stories connect with values and spread ideas

It’s more important than ever to tell a story that shows what your product stands for.

Jonah Sachs of Free Range Studios, author of Winning the Story Wars: Why Those Who Tell (and Live) the Best Stories Will Rule the Future can grab any crowd when he talks about storytelling, especially brand storytelling.

Among many compelling ideas he presented at the Sustainable Brands 2013 Conference in San Diego, one begins with the notion that the digital era represents a return to the oral tradition, in which great stories and myths were told and retold.

When they survive through the ages, they carry with them the morals and values of the cultures they came from.

The broadcast era, which is coming to a close, had a different emphasis. “The broadcast era is passive,” said Sachs. “There’s nothing for audiences to do.”

In the digital era, we tell our stories on the Internet. By transmitting and reacting to them, everyone owns ideas. “Ideas get passed on or they die. It’s survival of the fittest.”

In his workshops, Sachs offers the framework of a classic plot: the hero’s journey.

The hero starts as an outsider. (Moses, for example.) He meets a mentor, who gives him a mission. (Yahweh.) With the advice of his mentor, the hero helps to create a better society. (Leading the Israelites out of bondage.)

In our recent past, the hero has been the consumer and the brand has been the mentor – the mouthwash that will make us popular, or the cigarette that will make us rugged cowboys.

The challenge in the age of social media, says Sachs, is to tell a different story, in which the hero is the brand. (Patagonia.) The consumer is the mentor, and in partnership we can make a better future.

“It’s a new relationship between corporations and citizens,” says Sachs.


Posted on

July 22, 2013

About the Author

Brooks Clark

Brooks is a former contributor to Shelton Insights.

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