Archive: November 2011


Talking Business With The Science Crowd

Writing alone does not guarantee terrific storytelling. You need to able to dig out that contrarian twist, anecdote or perhaps even failure that sets the stage for later success. Which brings us to the interview. Tom McHale, our director of client services based in Beijing, tackles this very subject — emphasizing scientific sources — drawing …more

Sports Illustrated Roots for Stories, Not the Team

The Thanksgiving break offered relaxation, pumpkin pie and plenty of football (sorry Niner fans). My personal indulgence involved reading Sports Illustrated cover to cover. The latest issue showcases long-form journalism at its best, examining the broad issue of sports in America with the piece “In My Tribe.” While I’ve pointed out that business communicators can take away lessons from the …more

Digging Out A Story That Plays with the Mainstream Media

Most of our client campaigns include the mainstream media as a target audience. More than the sheer reach, there’s a certain cachet that comes from landing in Fortune, The New York Times or TIME. Which brings me to a specific article in TIME with the headline, “Made (Again) in the U.S.A. Why firms like Jarden are bringing …more

Tough Times Can Set The Stage For Contrarian Stories

What is your company (or client) doing that deviates from the status quo? I ask this question after being reminded by a 2009 New Yorker article “Hanging Tough,” that difficult economic times can produce rich fodder for storytelling. Let’s talk cereal. The New Yorker piece points out that when the Great Depression hit, cold cereal had yet to put a dent in …more

Check Out This Pie Chart

I’ve been waiting three years to break out this pie chart. That’s when we created the curriculum for our storytelling workshop. In the early stages of the workshop, we discuss the sheer noise level in the market. I like to pick a random day and aggregate the number of news releases distributed on the various wire …more

Rabbis, Hollywood And Storytelling

Dare I say storytelling has become trendy in the business world? Rake through the transcripts of quarterly earnings on Seeking Alpha and you’ll find CEOs espousing the company’s unique narrative. When a CFO starts talking about a decline in earnings per share due to a pesky protagonist, we’ll know things have gone too far. While storytelling …more

Word Choice Makes A Difference In Business Communications

I mentioned I spoke at a conference last week in Asheville, North Carolina. In the course of exploring Asheville after the conference, my wife Heather and I landed at the Tupelo Honey Cafe for breakfast. To borrow from Crocodile Dundee, “Now that’s a biscuit … with homemade blueberry jam.” I chased the biscuit with an order of sweet …more

Applying Storytelling Techniques To Owned Media

I had the pleasure of speaking at Compass USA’s communicators’ conference in North Carolina this morning. As one of the largest food service companies in the country, Compass has a good story to tell. With all due respect to my technology brethren, it was liberating to discuss storytelling in the context of banana bread, grilled …more

Startup Venture Applies Storytelling Techniques to “About Us” Section

There’s no question that startups enjoy an advantage in applying storytelling techniques to the “About Us” section on the company website. For Exhibit A, look no further than a new venture called SigFig. Its site gets the story off to a good start with with the subhead, “Our Story.” Now, check out the narrative: Before starting …more