Archive for November, 2013

Sell Ideas Like Malcolm Gladwell: Tell Stories

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

The spectacular success of Malcolm Gladwell’s first three books clearly demonstrates that he’s very skilled at selling ideas. Sales of The Tipping Point surpassed 3 million copies and Blink, and Outliers each sold more than a million copies.

Wharton School of Busness professor Jonah Berger explains how Gladwell has been so effective in selling his ideas. In an online article Berger lists three techniques, one of which is storytelling.

Like other skilled storytellers, Gladwell paints vivid pictures for his audience by telling stories to illustrate his points. As Berger notes, stories surprise and engage the audience and also causes readers and listeners to vicariously experience what he’s describing. Stories also “serve a “larger purpose,” Berger says. A story is “proof by example,” conveying information that “comes along for the ride.”

To read the entire article, go to

Then ask yourself, How can I learn from and emulate Gladwell? What stories can I tell that convey important information and persuade others to my point of view in an engaging way?

Tell Stories Worth Telling, Win Customers and Employees

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

“Fast Company” recently posted an excellent article on 10 ways that companies can bring core values to life, which emphasized that in today’s information-loaded environment, having a purpose that benefits your community is essential. The article reports that 87% of global consumers believe businesses “should place equal weight on societal issues and business issues,” and a study on meaningful brands found that “73% of existing brands could disappear and consumers wouldn’t care.”

Three of the 10 ways to bring core values to life align with three main points in my Corporate Storytelling® system. They are

  1. Make customers the celebrity of your brand story, explaining the benefits of your products/services
  2. CEOs must lead by example, enacting the values on a regular basis so that employees understand the desiredbehavior that will be rewarded
  3. Inspire employees to become brand advocates

Each of these can be achieved by clearly articulating a relevant story that engages your employees, customers, and community and galvanzies support for your mission. Stories are powerful communication tools for many reasons; chief among them are that stories touch people emotionally, act as glue that sticks your brand in their minds, and motivate them to promote your business.

The lesson here is that you have to work harder to cut through the information clutter, and the most effective way to do that is to tell a story worth telling–one that clearly communicates values your customers, employees and community share.

To ensure that your company’s brands aren’t among that startlingly high 73% that the marketplace doesn’t care about, read the “Fast Company” article and assess how well you’re doing on all 10 measures recommended.