If you have seen the first part of this series you would know why having a story is important, but do you know the secret to finding your story?
Before we get into the types of stories or how to tell the story, we need to cover the most fundamental part of storytelling: finding it.
So watch this video by Tara Hunt, who explains how we can find the story for a brand.
Finding Your Story (Storytelling part II) | Truly Social with Tara
Transcripts of the Video:
Last week, I talked about the importance of having a story and for those who haven’t
watched, it boils down to this:
The most influential people and brands out there are the best storytellers. And these
people and brands aren’t only great at TELLING stories, they also live their stories.
I also promised to talk about figuring out that story, because face it, most brands don’t
have a very clear story to live OR tell. Now this is a challenge, I know, but I’m going
to try and tackle this nonetheless. I’m going to tackle it in bite-sized pieces.
It will be a multi-part series, and today, I’m going to talk about the most important
part of storytelling…that foundation. And the most important part of storytelling is…
“Drumroll please! Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Can anybody guess?” Michael from the Office
I’ll tell you right after the jump.
My name is Tara and this is …Truly Social.
Now, there are some businesses whose stories are easy to see from a distance. And here
are just some examples to illustrate:
Red Bull’s story is about living life to the fullest, taking risks, and pushing the
limits. Red Bull doesn’t sell an energy drink, they sell a lifestyle.
Apple’s story is about stepping back, throwing out conventional wisdom, and rethinking how
things could be done better. You know, Apple’s “Think Different.” But Apple doesn’t
just sell computers and software and it’s not just a line from an ad. They sell a mindset.
The key thing to note here is that these brands don’t just use their story as a marketing
message, they build that story into everything they do. They live that story.
“I’m just livin the dream!” Wedding Crashers
And this is key. Though these seem like sexy brands in simple industries where stories
are easy to tell, there are plenty of examples of their competitors who have weak or no stories
at all. Can you tell me the story behind Blackberry? Samsung? Monster energy? NOS? Or is it N O
S? You may recognize the brands, but what are their stories? Do you know what those
are? Do you know what they stand for?
What do YOU stand for? What does your brand stand for? If you want someone to get behind
your brand, you need to stand for something bigger than “buy my stuff”.
“Call now! You’re going to get the graty absolutely free! You’re going to love my
In the social era, pretty much everything people buy, wear, eat, listen to, read, or
otherwise consume is a signal that they’re sending out into the world to tell people
who they are and what they care about. If they are buying anything less than something
that sends that signal, it’s a commodity. And that commodity is easily switched for
another commodity at a different time. That’s where you get price being a race to the bottom,
and companies like Apple do not (have to) compete on price at all.
“Everyone, everyone, everyone is waiting for the Mac.” Steve Jobs
I spend stupid amounts of money on Apple products because I wouldn’t be caught dead with a
PC. I know it sounds really ridiculous and shallow. Yes, I also love the hardware and
software, but I’m not going to kid myself. I am an Apple Fangirl and I proudly display
this to the world, because I want people to see me as the type of person who uses Apple.
“Look at their faces when they see what it is. They won’t know what they’re looking
at or why they like it, but they know they want it.” Steve Jobs
But on the other side, there are people who wouldn’t be caught dead with an Apple product,
either. It is their story that they are NOT Apple Fangirls and Fanboys, that they are
not part of this cult. The signal that they’re sending is just as strong. My friend Chris
Pirillo is one of these people. He revels in laughing at Apple people like me. It’s
part of his identity. And I love him for it.
But, how did Apple become part of both Chris and my identities? Well, they took a stand.
It didn’t have to be a universally accepted stand, either. In fact, they turn off as many,
if not more, people than they attract. People like Chris. But that doesn’t matter. They
don’t need everyone to buy – that would actually kill the specialness of the Apple
Fan identity – they just need people who believe to buy.
THIS is the most important part of ANY story: standing for something. Having strong, identifiable,
authentic, relatable, boundaried, passionate, sometimes divisive and controversial, but
always true-of-heart VALUES. Values are the CORE to any story and the stronger and more
identifiable those values, the stronger and more identifiable the story.
“You can’t see electricity, can you? You can’t see radio waves,
but you accept them.” I heart huckabees
When you have strong values, you will:
Number one, Invest in those values. Your money, your time, your social capital, your everything.
Number two, you’ll measure your success by how well you are living up to those values.
Number three, you stand by those values no matter what. People can threaten, boycott,
shun, and otherwise ostracize you, but you stand tall.
Number four, you incorporate those values into EVERYTHING you do. You don’t have to
be preachy – in fact, you shouldn’t be preachy – but you do need to be consistent.
And number five, you put those values above all else.
Now the thing is: most people – and definitely most brands – do NOT have the fortitude to
stand by values this strongly. Sure, they’ll write a list of values on a laminated card
or a new employee handout. And I’ve been the employee who got that handout, got excited,
then ended up heartbroken because the organization didn’t stand strong by the values they listed
on that card. They didn’t act consistently.
“I’m not so much let down as I am disappointed.” Duckman
And that is when the story fails – when the values are written down, but they’re not
So, the first thing you need to do before my next video is to sit down and have a real
conversation internally. Ask: WHAT ARE OUR VALUES? And, even more importantly, ARE WE
WILLING TO LIVE AND DIE BY THEM? This is not an easy conversation to have, there is going
Have that conversation in your organization this week – no matter whether your brand or
industry is “sexy” or not. You can be CPG or you can be a B2B financial services
company. I can guarantee you that this will be an eye-opening discussion and you’re
not going to solve anything in one sit-down.
“But I want it now!” My Little Pony
Oh…and values are not a laundry list of wis-hy washy and “safe” words like Integrity,
Honesty and Openness. Those are baselines and must-haves in today’s world. They’re
not values. If you won’t invest in it, can’t measure it, won’t take a bullet for it,
live it and put it above all else, it’s not a value, it’s a given.
Next week, I’ll talk about taking those values and making them into your story, so
be sure to subscribe, click the bell and, please, go have that conversation about values.
Let me know how it goes in the comments below.
My name is Tara and this has been …Truly Social.