Marketing • Communications • PR

Storytelling for marketers

There are few marketers who explain the power and relevance of stories to business people as convincingly as Anthony Tasgal.

The author of The Storytelling Book, due to be published this September, gave a sneek peak into its contents and his approach through a recent Chartered Institute of Marketing webinar.


We all appreciate a good story, don’t we?

Expert Anthony Tasgal throws open the lid on Pandora’s box when he talks about the power of stories:
•    How important they are in evolutionary terms
•    How emotions are wired in
•    How we automatically listen to, believe, and trust a story (even when untrue).

Now are you sitting comfortably? Yes? Then I shall continue, with some of the main ‘take-aways’.

Elements of a story:
•    Creates self
•    Establishes identity and status
•    Builds trust and empathy
•    Is playful
•    And is gossip-worthy (this covers news, social media and ‘face-time’ in the café,  those water-cooler moments, down the gastro pub, and at the school gates).

But most of all, the story is our universal and natural language.

Francis Bacon is quoted as saying ‘knowledge is power’. Anthony Tasgal argues ‘interpretation is power’. He explains that a good story is a pattern with meaning, and warns against over-reliance on data and the DRIP culture (Data Rich, Insight Poor).

Insight is the pearl. He argues sentences should create insights; that we should use attitutude, not platitudes; quality, not quantity; and we should provoke and not declare.

Telling stories:
Stories are for entertainment, engagement and enlightenment, because they are universal, natural and emotional.

They should be persuasive, actionable, and inspiring.

Persuade people. Consider the ‘Signal Noise Ratio’, says Tasgal. Ensure that the signal is the most memorable part of your story. Believe in your story, and tell it well.

So what makes for a good story and storyteller?
•    Likeability
•    Conflict/plot (overcoming hardship)
•    Emotion (examples include saving, toil, and joy)
•    A human truth, character and voice (authenticity)

And those practical tips:
•    Grab them early! Have a good headline!
•    The golden thread (the story’s structure)
•    Editing
•    Avoid smothering with too much detail (dubbed the ‘data duvet’)
•    People judge experiences largely from the peak and the end stages of the story. Don’t end yours on a whimper!

Well, I for one am ordering Tasgal’s The Storytelling book, and look forward to delivering simpler, more engaging, and effective story-presentations.

The end.

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