Congratulations! Ripple100 has been designated a Connecticut Technology Council 2010 Company to Watch.
Click on image to read more on Jay Baer’s (@jaybaer) 5-Step Process.
As always, read through comments to see what others really think. I added this comment, love to hear yours:
You can’t know how true this storytelling flow is until you do it, and as the graphic points out, repeat it! Jay, you captured it precisely as it happens, although I’d add a second flow precipitated by storytelling.
The first flow, as you said: stories beget more stories in a virtuous cycle - and stories impact sales! For those who don’t buy this, take a look at this empirical experiment on the Value of Stories:
But there’s a second flow: stories inspire involvement and advocacy, enabling community to coalesce. I really don’t think you can “build community”. You can enable communities to coalesce around brands, then you can nurture and grow from there.
Stories can do all that.
Podcamp Boston’s Visual Suspects session was a moshpit of online video rockstars - Matt Mamet, Steve Garfield, Joselin Mane, Skip Bensley, Robert Collins in the house yo! So I had to pop this question. It’s been bugging me for a while. Not intellectually, but operationally. I didn’t find resolution last Sunday, but online video mogul Steve Garfield chatted me up after the session and we agreed that it’s a lucrative opportunity if you can solve it. Here’s the crux:
For any given client, we might have more than 100 minutes of raw footage coming in every single week. We need to turn that raw material into 30 shorts of about 90 seconds each, as suitable for online video consumption. If average video processing time (on a good day) is 5 minutes for every minute of raw footage, you’re talking 500 minutes of post-production time for every week of serial storytelling. That’s just one client. Multiply this dis-economy over a growing client portfolio and what you have is an industrial-strength assembly line challenge. Or, given the macro market shift to both video (vs. other forms of media) and storytelling (vs. other forms of marketing), what you have is a pretty interesting engineering opportunity with, what else, but social or distributed collaboration networks at its core. Woohoo!
In other words, we want a place (ok, a platform) where we can upload 100 minutes of raw footage every week, write up a creative brief (or the equivalent thereof for video storytelling, which we can address in another post), and crowdsource the finished product of our choice from a marketplace that could include tens of thousands of film, writing, theatre students and indie artists and filmmakers from New York to New Delhi.
Crowdsourcing creative, design, even R&D work is so old Read Write Web’s Josh Catone wrote up this article back in 2008 citing at least 18 startups in the space. But none in video. Of course, that was 2008. Video, bandwidth, and storytelling weren’t where they are now.
So, who’s going to bring us back to the future?
Because the only way you can describe a human being truly is by describing his imperfections. The perfect human being is uninteresting… it is the imperfections of life that are lovable.
Stephen Denny (@note_to_cmo) quotes Joseph Campbell in Why Do Brand Stories Work? The Societal, Cultural and Physical Reasons Why. Besides Campbell (my idol, someone I’d have gone to Sarah Lawrence for), Denny also references two other mythical figures in the art and science of Storytelling: screenwriter Robert McGee and psychologist Norman Holland.
So why, according to these sages, do brand stories work? The answer is clear: for stories to ring true, they need imperfection at their core. Without flaws there is neither struggle nor redemption, no drama, no story.
But think about imperfection not just in terms of what the stories are about, but also how they’re told and captured and spread. Ah, then we get into the beauty of social media, the rawness of video in YouTube, the happenstance of twitter. Unblike the 30-second TV commercial, you can’t script, polish and post-produce these kinds of stories.
- Linda Garbe (@garbedesigns): The storytelling movement seems to be growing explosively. Why now? What is it about this moment in human history and culture that makes storytelling so resonant with so many people right now?
- Kathy Hansen (@astoriedcareer): We are in the twilight of a society based on data. As information and intelligence becomes the domain of computers, society will place more value on the one human ability that cannot be automated: emotion. Imagination, myth, ritual — the language of emotion — will affect everything from our purchasing decisions to how we work with others. Companies will thrive on the basis of their stories and myths. Companies will need to understand that their products are less important than their stories. (Quoting Rolf Jensen, Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies, author of The Dream Society)
Here is what Rob did. He purchased a bunch of random objects on Ebay. He then distributed the objects to his friends, asked them to write a short story about each. He then put the objects back up for sale on ebay, essentially sold $120 worth of objects for $3,612 – a 2,776% significance markup as he calls it. All based on stories.
I am excerpting here Marshall Ganz’s The Power of Story In Social Movements as explored in Cathryn Wellner’s Story Route (@storyroute). Ganz, of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, is widely credited with the grassroots organizing model for President Obama’s 2008 campaign. Bolds are mine, as are deletions of references. Full draft can be read here. Just wanted to share this right away, will add my own thoughts on further reflection.
Inspiring, and proof again that storytelling is science within which art can move!
A newer generation of scholars has begun to go beyond framing, recognizing that story telling may be what most distinguishes social movements from interest groups and other forms of collective action. Storytelling is central to social movements because it constructs agency, shapes identity, and motivates action.
- Story telling is how we learn to exercise agency to deal with new challenges, mindful of the past, yet conscious of alternative futures. It is not about following a script, but about choosing how to handle deviations from a script. Story telling engages us in an “emplotted” account of actors proceeding in legitimate ways toward valued goals who meet unexpected trouble, to which they must respond with innovative action leading to resolution along a new pathway, toward a new goal, or go down to defeat, from which a “moral” is drawn. They teach us how to deal with the unexpected, improvising alternative futures even while maintaining continuity with our past.
- Story telling is how we develop individual and collective identities that define the ends we seek and among whom we seek them. Our identity can be understood as a story we weave from the lifetime of stories in which we have participated as tellers or listeners, learning how to act in the world. When we tell our story we do identity work, reenacting who we have been and forging the persons we become. As an interaction among speakers and listeners, storytelling is culture forging activity, constructing shared understandings of how to manage the risks of uncertainty, anomaly, and unpredictability grounded in recollection of how we dealt with past challenges. Our individual identities are thus linked with those with whom we share stories - our families, communities, colleagues, faith traditions, nationalities - and with whom we enact them at our family dinners, worship services, holidays, and other cultural celebrations that institutionalize - or transform - their retelling
- Story telling is how we access the emotional – or moral - resources for the motivation to act on those ends. Inherently normative, stories map positive and negative valance onto different kinds of behavior. They thus become what Charles Taylor calls our “moral sources” – sources of emotional learning we can access for the courage, love, hope we need to deal with the fear, loneliness and despair that inhibits our action. As St. Augustine taught “knowing the good” is insufficient to produce a change in behavior that requires “loving the good.” Story telling is both a way to “frame” our experience as purposive (making things “add up”) and of “regulating our emotions” (retaining confidence, keeping our anxiety under control, having a story we can believe in).
It’s tempting to shine the pieces of a story before we have removed the “nicks” from it. The result is smooth and polished, but not well shaped. It may hold an audience from moment to moment, but it will not achieve maximum power and clarity. At worst, both the audience and the teller will lose their sense of purpose.
Some scholars work with the assumption that what counts in the narrative sections of the Bible are the propositions that are to be found there. They want to analyse and dissect a story so that it can be reduced to a series of theological statements. But if this were all that God intended us to do with the long sections of narrative in the Bible, then it is a wonder that he didn’t give us an encyclopaedia or Bible dictionary rather than a long and involved story of salvation.
Sociologists and psychologists will say that beyond supplying propositions, narratives have another important function. Not only do they convey information but they also confer and confirm identity. The stories that we listen to and the stories that we tell play an important part in making us who we are as a community.
For new store openings, Kiehl’s works to understand its new location and develops a unique approach for each market. For its Upper West Side store in New York, Kiehl’s focused on the importance of Central Park to the area residents and supported improvements to a local playground. For their Palo Alto store opening, Kiehl’s surprised some Stanford medical school students by purchasing one of their textbooks and providing information on Kiehl’s products.
In addition, Kiehl’s has been able to put a creative spin on some more traditional mass marketing techniques. For example, Kiehl’s utilized a mobile marketing van and organized surprise visits to everyday heroes and under-recognized members of the community, from firefighters to waste management workers, drumming up invaluable press coverage along the way.
From CSR to CSW, Corporate Social Responsibility to Corporate Social Web.