In our last post, we talked a little about rational communication, rhetoric, and, emotional communication, and what constitutes the current problem. No one believes marketing and/or advertising anymore. The remedy, per Robert McKee and Thomas Gerace, in Storynomics: Story-Driven Marketing in a Post-Advertising World, is story.
Excerpt from McKee:
A well-told story captures our attention, holds us in suspense, and pays off with a meaningful emotional experience. Emotional because we empathize with its characters; meaningful because the actions of our protagonist deliver insights into human nature. The word itself, story, confuses many marketers. Some, for example, use the words content and story as if they were interchangeable. As as we’ll discover, that’s like conflating paint in a can with a masterpiece on a wall.”
The other, frequent point of confusion, is between story and narrative. There are key distinctions. Hugely important differences. Of which more, later.
Here we go, this bit is where our book gets in gear and begins to really move.
McKee excerpt: In short, story is the ultimate I.T. I in that storytelling demands information–a wide and deep knowledge of human nature and its relationship with the social and physical realms. T in that a well-told story demands skillful execution of its inner technology, its mechanism of action / reaction, changing value charges, roles, conflicts, turning points, emotional dynamics, and much more. A craft underpins the art.
Storify is the word that McKee and Gerace give us to describe marketing that encompasses story structure. You got to storify it!
Here is where we begin to see some clarity around what defines a story. Story involves just what has been said above. Action, reaction. Changing value charges. Roles. Conflict. Turning points. Emotional dynamics. None of which apply to narrative.
“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” Philip Pullman
For me, the interesting idea running through this approach to marketing is how to apply it. Where and how can you apply a storytelling structure in your business communications? What specific pieces of content can you storify? If we’re talking about content marketing which underlies all this due to Thomas Gerace’ role at Skyword, then there are numerous avenues to work with. Customer stories, also known as case studies, are prime territory. Ads can certainly fit that bill. Corporate history can definitely be storified.
I wonder? Can you storify home page content? Can you hook a reader on the home page with a brief story, maybe as brief as six words? Ten? Stay tuned for post number three coming your way soon. Should be good, ‘The Evolution of Story’ is chapter three.