Storyteller-in-Chief: The Art of Building your Brand


By Hyacinth Mascarenhas

“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today,” says award-winning writer and director Robert McKee. In a world powered by competitive economies, innovative technology and cut-throat businesses, the simple art of story-telling follows through as the most effective way of communicating a brilliant idea.

Throughout history, leaders in every sphere have recognized this fact. Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King and Gandhi connected with their audience through the art of story-telling. In Christianity, Jesus spoke in parables to his followers. The legacy of great wartime leaders such as Winston Churchill resonates through their passionate speeches and rousing stories.

The Academy award-winning movie, “The King’s Speech” echoed the idea that great leaders are based off of great stories. In the world of business and entrepreneurship, a great idea is sparked by a great story-teller now evolving into the title of ‘Storyteller-in-Chief.’

In the business world, the art of story-telling in more than just conventional rhetoric, but a necessary gift to communicate to customers and share-holders. It is the ability to create an emotional connection between the company and the customer in a way that not simply result in a purchase but in life-long loyalty.

Turtle-neck clad with a vision to express, Steve Jobs, for example, gave the world the story of the year. After being ousted from Apple and returning to transform the company into a multi-million iRevolution, Jobs captivated the world not just with this own heroic stories, but with his ability to communicate them.

“First was the mouse. The second was the click wheel. And now, we’re going to bring multi-touch to the market. And each of these revolutionary interfaces has made possible a revolutionary product – the Mac, the iPod and now the iPhone,” Steve Jobs said to his customers.

His commencement speech at Stanford University covers everything from love and inspiration to loss and death, but captivates his audience with a story many can not only relate to, but can aspire to.

Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz romantically described his 1983 business trip to Milan with the streets of Italy “almost literally lined” with coffee shops. He fondly recounted his surroundings of “light banter of political debate and the chatter of kids in school uniforms” sipping espressos at a local café where he would have his ground-breaking epiphany.

“Mass advertising can help build brands, but authenticity is what makes them last. If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand,” Schultz wrote in his book, Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time.

Trained at conventional business schools, chief executives live and breathe presentations. Packed with a vision, key goals, data, colorful graphs and slideshow presentations, executives are expected to transform their ideas into something solid, tangible and worthy of peoples time, attention and money.

Statistics, facts and demographics are not doubt key essentials within the business world, but can seem dry and redundant to many. Additionally, with “the next big idea” sprouting every minute, one needs more than just numbers and data to make a business idea click.

Tapping into human emotions, getting people engaged and inspiring them with that idea can and should be the foundation of every business. Storytelling is the perfect vehicle to achieve that goal. Appealing to the right side of the brain, stories can trigger the very emotions that drive human decisions.

The unison of a business idea and human emotions is a match made in heaven for CEOs and some of the world’s top brands have embraced and cherished that very idea.

Captivating the audience with an authentic, compelling story gives consumers more than just cold, hard facts and logical reasoning to be inspired. Simplifying the idea into something easy to communicate and connect allows for the idea to create a community.

With the current evolution of the business industry into various spheres of social entrepreneurship, environmental innovation and sustainable technology, a company needs to do more than sell. With a little inspiration, passion and an honest raw human story, a CEO might just spark the next top business empire.

Artwork provided by:  Gerry Biron, called The Story Teller



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