Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Once Upon a Time: Storytelling Magic, Part 2

If you want to learn how to be a great storyteller listen to the best. One of my favorites was Paul Harvey. His book, “The Rest Of The Story,” is worth it’s weight in gold for every aspiring storyteller. For decades, Harvey sniffed around the most common places and came up with some of the most uncommonly interesting stories you can imagine. No wonder millions of loyal listeners made him the most popular radio personality in America.

A couple of the stories in the book include the tale of the 20th century presidential candidate who killed a teenage girl, and a New York governor who dressed like a woman—at the electorate’s expense, of course. Each line of each story is packed with so much interest, that you’re compelled to keep listening. And, of course, there’s Harvey’s patented surprise punch line that never fails to make you say, “Hey, I didn’t know that.” The stuff is sheer delight, not to mention a great way to learn memorable information. Wouldn’t you love to be able to do something like that for your products and services? Well, you can.

Of course, trying to match Harvey’s ingenuity and creativity is pretty daunting, so you might start with something easier, say, pourquoi. Pourquoi is French for “why?,” and, as the name suggests, these “origin” stories explain how or why something got the way it is. For example, why does a zebra have stripes? It’s hard to say, but one thing for sure is that you can create a pretty interesting story explaining it in a plausible and memorable way. The reason these “how and why” stories are so popular is that in addition to being entertaining and informative, they also often reveal the genesis of deep-rooted cultural traditions. That makes them feel like they’re part of the listeners’ DNA, and that makes them incredibly compelling.

So, if you want to put storytelling to work for you, discover the “how and why” of your brand. Then dramatize it in a way that makes it really matter to Baby Boomers. You’ll find that if you can tell the right brand story in the right way, you’ll be on your way to the pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow: The Boomer Buying Center.

No comments: