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Posts Tagged ‘story

Spain Lottery Commercial

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Cyber Grand Prix at Cannes

Despite the lottery being a complete waste of money and attention, this is a fetching commercial.

But how about that soundtrack? Wow.

Written by kirkistan

June 23, 2016 at 10:46 am

Story Beats Monologue

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Why, again, do we elevate didactic talking points?

I hear “story” a lot these days.

Clients are looking for stories because stories show how something—their product, for instance—works in real life. A story is engaging. There is some tension in a story. There is a human factor in a story—we get to know some character. There is specificity that perks our attention. This is all story stuff.

We must work to help the story emerge

We must work to help the story emerge

Students like stories because they put a concept together into an easily digestible form.

In some ways it seems like nearly anything put in story form gets attention. Even over at Dumb Sketch Daily people comment that they are curious about stories behind the various dumb sketches appearing there. And if there is no story, the reader makes one up. It’s nearly an involuntary response. Our minds are made to put things together, to look for the connections and to make things fit. We find stories where none should exist: I’m remembering one daughter who named each bag of leaves in the back of the van and told stories about them—even as we drove the newly-named leaf bags to the compost heap.

In the race to get heard, story is a form we are all searching for. Story is irresistible. Sermons and monologues induce sleep. Story wakes. Story compels.

So why is it, again, that we elevate facts and principles and dry argument to such a high place? We think intellect beats emotion. But how much better if emotion and intellect are joined?


Image Credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

September 28, 2015 at 9:03 am

Recast Your Story

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Melt. Turn. Form. Repeat.

More and more of my work is recasting. Telling an old story in a new way: finding the locus of interest for today, for these people, living right now. These people who don’t care how the story used to be told—it meant nothing to them and seemed irrelevant if not invisible.


My industrial-controls client wants a new way to talk about a neglected product. I write to find the words and the approach to make it interesting for today’s audience. My medical client wants to recast the backbone of their selling proposition with proper science and citations (versus just their own internal studies, which were not wrong, just limited). A consulting client wants to turn their expertise into a broader story that pulls in people outside the narrow audience with which they’ve been successful.

My process is to play with the story element. That’s why writing often seems like play or goofing off. It must be so: that’s where key discovery happens. Sort of like the process in my daily failures at Dumb Sketch Daily. I don’t know what’s right until I draw it wrong.

It occurs to me this recasting process is going on all over my life. Writing and faith and parenting and exercise are all changing before my eyes. A new story keeps getting told about each and it is important each story is told—telling and retelling the story helps me understand life. Maybe the retelling is all about making meaning.

What’s changing in your life and what story do you need to recast or retell? And who might benefit from that retelling?


Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

July 29, 2015 at 9:47 am

“And the only one with access is me!”

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Why you need this Dutch insurance company.

Privacy is something we are keen on giving away.


Via Adfreak

Written by kirkistan

May 5, 2015 at 8:37 am

Imagination, Guts and a Camera: How Does Story Work?

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Thomas Sanders: Only a few resist the story

Every marketer on earth wants their brand to be part of a larger, compelling story. That’s because story is irresistible catnip to those in the human condition. We want so badly to be part of a big story.

Watch for what happens as strangers quickly enter the story—or not.

It’s the moment of decision—join or not?—that makes this compelling and so watchable.


Via 22 words

Written by kirkistan

December 23, 2014 at 8:38 am

DIY Drama Queen: a Cop, 2 Boots and a Homeless Guy

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Tell Your Old Story in Today’s Conversation

E933KL97LPPQ8T5E-rszw514-11302012Not so many days ago a New York cop bought some boots for a homeless, shoe-less guy. The photo went viral because it was remarkable—stuff like that doesn’t usually happen. The telling of the story warms the heart and we want to share it.

Communication-types talk endlessly about stories and narrative and narrative arc. All this literary-criticism lingo has made its way from academia through the land of communication and advertising and out into mainstream speech of the news anchor, for instance. Behind all this talk is the simple notion that people respond to stories.

Because people respond to stories, we give assignments to our outward facing employees to snag potential customers and engage clients with precisely those stories that feature our product or service in a key role. Maybe the product saves the situation. Maybe the service is a vehicle of freedom. Certainly the product enriches the identity of the people using it.

But what about inside the company? Where are those engaging narratives in our ordinary, daily conversations? Does story have a place in our workdays? Should it?

One medical device company I worked for held a company-wide meeting around this time of year where patients came on stage and told stunning stories of how they could now walk (or stand or eat or breathe) again. They talked about how their lives were changed by the very products we all worked on.

And we all got weepy.

But ordinary, daily conversations produce no such tears—how could they? We’re all about work and getting stuff done, after all. We’re not here to tell stories. But some smart bosses are telling larger stories. Some meeting leaders are starting with the narrative arc that includes patients being healed and lives restored. Some team members are embedding in their discussion how their product makes it easier to turn solar energy to electricity—and why that has meaning for today’s work. Bringing those stories to the mundane conversations can seem like a cynical, manipulative ploy—but only to those intent on cynicism and manipulation.

It’s time to bring those stories back into our conversations. Not as ploys. Not as manipulative levers. But because of our universal need to make meaning. Especially to make meaning of our daily work.

We’re moving into a season where we tell lots of old stories: When I was a kid Christmas looked like this. When we were first married, we did this for the holiday. Way back when a virgin had a baby. In a stable. And everything changed.

Be the drama queen in your part of your company or organization. Take center stage and demand attention. And tell the remarkable story you heard.

Stories help us make meaning and are worth passing on.


Image Credit: Politix

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