Just what is Storytelling Anyway?

No matter what business you are in—development, marketing, public relations, communications, education, non-profit, for-profit—everyone seems to agree that your main objective should be “effective storytelling.” You need to be able to “tell your business/company/mission/organization’s “story” in a manner that compels people to act: they must click, buy, email, refer, Like, support, or otherwise engage, after hearing and being moved by your story.

But what is this mysterious art of storytelling? How do we do it without sounding self-congratulatory, obnoxious and narcissistic? How do we step outside ourselves and our product or company that we know so well and communicate what it is to people who don’t know anything about it? How do we reach people, on an emotional or visceral level? How do we stand out in the cacophony of the digital world, where everyone is going deaf from the din of everybody else’s story?

Well, here are some tips:


In 2002, Baltimore City Police Officer Crystal Sheffield was killed while responding to a call for help from a fellow officer—another patrol car, responding to the same call, collided with her vehicle.

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Newsflash: They Read the Copy (at least, in French, they do)

There’s a tired, old fallacy that exists in the marketing world that “no one reads the copy.” In fact, if you Google that very phrase, you’ll drown in a sea of 129,000,000 results (of copy). If that idiom is true, then you’re not reading this either—please comment to show the world that they’re wrong.

According to the results of a new study recently conducted in France, however, the copy is most certainly being read, and not in a way you may thing, either. The copy is being read in emails, sent by what are regarded as “trusted brands.” Just how many French consumers are opening the emails of these trusted brands and reading the copy? 82%.

Ignore that number at your peril.

Survey respondents also said that they are more likely to read the content of the message if the email is “pleasant to read.” Wait—people not only read the copy, but they respond positively to it when it is well-written, creative, and affable tone that connects with them on a human, interpersonal level?

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Dropping the Hammer on America’s Favorite Dog: When Branding and Strategy Unseat Sentimentality

Well, it finally happened: 30 years after MetLife brought on Snoopy and the gang to help make it seem more friendly and approachable, and 16 years after the death of “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz’s death, MetLife has grounded the Red Baron. If we consider the end of this relationship as a “divorce” then Snoopy and MetLife fared much better than the average American marriage that ends in divorce, which lasts an average of eight years. Perhaps there’s a chance for reconciliation between these long-term lovers yet.

The parting-of-ways between Snoopy and MetLife is a watershed moment in the branding and corporate identity industry for several reasons. Principally, the duration of the relationship between “Peanuts” and MetLife, at a cost of $15 million annually, is worth noting. We may never know how many times, during those three decades, the affiliation was called into question or re-evaluated, but it would seem that the partnership was getting a bit long in the tooth years ago. It may be that MetLife was experiencing a certain amount of inertia—it’s always easier to do nothing than to do something— and took comfort in the security of characters whose affability and innocence never change (one always hopes the same for the company those characters represent).

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