Storytelling has the power to change the biology in humans, in real time. Yep, that’s right, when you hear a frightening story cortisol is released into your bloodstream. The hormone cortisol is released in response to stress. When you hear a relatable and compelling story oxytocin is released into the bloodstream. Oxytocin has been called the trust molecule.
Approximately two thousand and five hundred years ago Plato said, “Those who tell the stories, rule the world.” Plato and his contemporaries knew that story exerted a special power over humans. Today neuroscience provides us with fact-based proof of the power of story. Science now validates what Plato knew anecdotally, way back in the day.
Today we do the work required to become better storytellers because science has given us proof that humans are called to take action, by great storytelling.
Neuroscientist, Dr. Paul Zak has conducted extensive research on human decision making, Dr. Zak wanted to know what makes people buy. Dr. Zak focuses his research in the area of neuroeconomics. During his research, Dr. Zak discovered he could forecast with great accuracy the percentage of a stipend paid to each participant would be donated to a non-profit at the end of the session.
After all of the research was concluded Dr. Zak authored a couple of fascinating books titled, “The Moral Molecule” where he discusses his decades of research into oxytocin and how it is instrumental in creating a sense of trust among strangers. Dr. Zak’s other book “The Trust Factor” is where he continues to make the case for oxytocin and presents how important it is to understand the connection between HOW we communicate and the levels of trust our communications engenders in business.
The power story wields to drive human actions and emotions is real. We humans have always been wired to communicate.
So, each of us should make the commitment to invest time in being better at telling our brand stories?
What is equally important doing the work to become much better at listening to the thoughtful, insightful and compelling stories/narratives of our colleagues, clients, and those all-important ideal prospects we seek to reach and engage?
Our team here at The Art of Standing Out – Story Lab, is here to help when you are ready to begin.
It is not unusual to hear a someone ask why marketers love story. The question should be why do humans love story. Yes, marketers tout storytelling as perhaps the most important tool for a business to gain expertise in. However, the truth is humans are now and have always been wired to respond to a story well told.
The infographic attached here provides a visual representation of how our brains respond to story. The infographic is a product of ETHOS3. They provide your business with award-winning presentations and design training. We are presenting their infographic here because it succinctly presents the neuroscience behind why we love story.
The Greeks challenged everyone that entered the temple at Delphi to Know Thyself. Delphi is an ancient Greek temple located at Pythia. The Greeks considered Delphi the center of their world. They believed special powers emanated from the sacred center of the temple. What an amazing experience it must have been to pass under the inscription “Know Thyself” then stride into the central chamber to stand at the center of the world.
The inscription was presented there, above the entrance, to remind all that passed to remember who they are and whoever they were they were not greater than their own mortality and that no one can escape their mortality.
Since the days of Delphi much has been written about the benefits of knowing oneself.
Fast forward to modern times and we find an old Dutch saying inspired by the words found above the entrance at Delphi. The Dutch say “We grow too soon old and too late smart.
The Greeks and the Dutch share the same sentiment, even though their ideas are separated by nearly 2, 500 years. The notion that the sooner we know ourselves, our strengths and weakness, the sooner we will know how to navigate toward opportunities and avoid the threats.
So, knowing oneself is a central element of building a successful life. The sooner we learn certain truths about ourselves all the better.
The Art of Standing out LLC is founded to help you harness the power that is baked into your story. The narrative of what makes you who you are and what the superpowers are that you are endowed with.
Yes, we know the thought of possessing superpowers would tend to add a bit of pressure and stress to the art of being you. However, you better believe in your superpowers because we all have something that makes us able to achieve remarkable things.
When you watch this short TedTalk video you will hear the presenters story. I will bet you right now, you will hear something of your story in her story. So, get comfortable, grab a snack, a beverage then settle in for this interesting 15-minute presentation. I found her story inspirational I hope you do too.
Storytelling was the first form of social media. Storytelling has been around since the beginning of time. To discover the power of storytelling just a little research on the great leaders throughout history will illustrate how they realized their vision, fought and won great wars built great civilizations because they knew how to govern by telling great stories.
Many of the lives of the greatest leaders have been turned into theater partly for our entertainment and mainly to canonize the story of those leaders for all time.
There is a great article written in the San Francisco Chronicle by Lauren Gunderson, playwright in residence at the Marin Theatre Company. http://bit.ly/2AVDUt4
“Think of this pitch to a room of venture capitalists: “What we’re proposing is a scalable, repeatable product that makes vital intellectual and emotional wisdom portable, communicable, and adaptable and memorable. Everyone will use it and keep using it for millennia. We call it: storytelling.”
A bit ridiculous, but I think of live storytelling as an ancient technology that has served human survival for centuries by wrapping critical knowledge in unforgettable characters, impassioned moments, or hilarious escapades. Stories are ancient social media startups, and ones so successful that they are still in play after thousands of years.”
1960 era theatre where people gather to watch stories be told
Today mobile media enables us to carry a powerful device which at any time we can command the device to magically deliver a story of our choosing to the mobile computer screen in our pocket.
What does it mean to humanize your brand? The answer to this question is pretty straightforward. When you humanize your brand you recognize it is important to engage your clients on a human level. Seems obvious enough, right?
Well many of us get so caught up in wanting to be the best we can be wrangling whichever social media platforms we believe reach and engage the ideal prospects we seek. We forget these platforms are simply tools, allowing us to reach and engage with other humans. When we remind ourselves to remember it’s the people we seek to engage, its the people that matter most, and not the technologies we use to reach them.
I know, we live during a time of rapidly advancing technology, which makes the awesome technologies available to us seem irresistible. Digital Darwinism makes being a capable hands-on user of the latest and greatest tech a necessity. Because when we don’t work at learning the latest and greatest, technology will outpace our ability to keep up. The fear of being left behind, the fear of missing out #FOMO drives us to learn to harness to power our technologies enable us to wield. Yet, once again, we must remember the power new media tech allows us to wield is communicating, human to human. When we focus on the tech we risk losing our capacity for human communication.
When you are a business leveraging technologies to deliver maximum value to the customers you serve, humanizing those technologies can make your technology more approachable. Humanizing your brand simply means you allow your audience of ideal prospects to understand that your brand like the founders and employees, have personality, and care deeply about the people in the markets they serve.
This short video is a great example of how Google chose to humanize one of their core technology offers, search. Watch and let me know it the comments if the video makes you empathize with the characters in the story. What do you think and feel while you watch? Let me know in the comments which parts of the video resonated most with you?
Storytelling is the best way to reach your audience. Stories and the best way to humanize your brand. Why, because we humans, we are wired to share and hear your stories.
Need help finding your most compelling stories? Give us a call, we are here to help you find and monetize the stories that humanize your brand.
Your brand story gives you special powers. The Greek philosopher Plato, once said: “Those that tell the stories rule society”.
Do you have a brand story to share? Your brand story includes, yet is not limited to, the story of your founding, why your products were built and, how your customers are changed after acquiring your product or services?
Storytelling is the oldest and most reliable tool available to leaders. So why do people resist telling their most thoughtful, insightful and compelling stories? Well, there is a host of reasons for keeping our stories bound up inside of us. None of those reasons are good.
How do we find inspiration for doing the work to liberate our brand stories? The great American poet Walt Whitman may provide us with some inspiration? Let’s read the last line of his poem Oh me, Oh Life.
“The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse” Walt Whitman
Each of us has a story to tell.
In his poem, Walt Whitman says, each of us may contribute a verse. I take Whitman’s words to mean to truly be a member of the human race, each of us must contribute our verse.
Each of us has that singular thing making us unique and interesting. When we embrace our uniqueness and nurture it, is when we begin to harness it to serve us. Once we commit to doing the work to connect with and nurture our unique brand story, the words and ideas in our brand story serve as our very own superpowers. Perhaps sharing our unique story is what life is all about. So, stand up for your story and be counted.
We all have a superpower. We have something we know how to do that once harnessed and applied can help fix the things you see as broken in the world and in need of fixing. In order to harness those powers, first, you have to believe you are worthy.
Know what makes you remarkable?
Possess something people always favorably remark upon?
Acknowledge and feel worthy of your unique gifts?
Share your story with your internal and external partners and customers?
Did you answer yes to any one of the questions listed above? When you answer yes, it’s incumbent upon you to start actively share your brand story with the world. When you share your brand story, the unique attributes you’ve been gifted become known to the world.
When you choose to not share your story, others with the same vision and passion will not know you are out there. Brand storytelling comes with accepting the mantle of leadership. Once you share your story, people with the same interest, passion or purpose will find you. Humans are tribal, someone has to accept the responsibility to lead. When you decide to share your story you must also ask yourself, who will lead? Yes, finding and sharing what you believe, is what makes your brand story. Brand storytelling does require a lot of you. Once you begin the process, whenever your desire to lead just ask yourself, If not me, then who will lead?
Will you accept the responsibility, or will you await someone else in the crowd to step up to lead?
What follows is Oh me, Oh Life in its entirety. If you are still on the fence wondering should I do the work to find, then share my story, when you savor Whitman’s words perhaps they will inspire you. Remember, the choice is yours, when we keep our story bound up, inside, it does not serve anyone.
Oh me, Oh life
Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities filled with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects, mean, of the struggle ever renewed,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds, I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
So, what’s next? When you commit to share your story and accept the responsibility to lead, we are here to coach and guide you, on your journey.
Creating your signature story requires you to produce an intriguing, authentic, narrative. Ideally you create a signature story for yourself and your business. Everyone working in customer facing roles should have a signature story to share.
A signature story is NOT a compilation of dry facts or product features, functions or description of roles and responsibilities. The signature story explains why you love the work you do while explaining how you to do it. The signature story enhances the perception of the company you represent.
The short video attached was produced for LifeBouy. The company was headquartered in England when it launched in 1895. Lifebouy became the most popular hand soap in the United States in 1923. Life Bouy is no longer produced in the United States. All production is now done in Cyprus. Lifebouy’s major markets are now the emerging markets of South America and Asia.
The narrative shared in the video illustrates how village folkways are integral to all village life. What’s compelling about this signature story is how it makes us feel empathy for the families and the village children. Leave a comment below and let us know how you felt while watching the video.
We all have an insightful, thoughtful and compelling message to share about our vision, mission, brand or campaign for fixing somethig greater than ourselves.
Now, relax, and watch this video for a few moments, then reflect on how you will gather the ideas that become your signature story. When you need a helping hand we are here to show you how to harness the power of your story to reach and engage the people in the markets you serve.
Kudos to LifeBouy who may no longer be all the rage in the United States yet, they continue to create products and processes to help people of emerging societies accomplish more.
I truly enjoyed my conversation with my favorite executive coach, Blair Glaser. Why, because she has always willed solutions into the world that make meaning in the lives of others.
The template for our conversation was borrowed from a passage in a book BIG MAGIC written by Elizabeth Gilbert. In Big Magic. She wrote this book to address what she believes about the notion of finding ones passion in life.
Ms. Gilbert says she believes there are two paths people travel when finding their passion. She says some people are like jackhammers, it’s as if they are born knowing what they will do with their life. Those jackhammer people are very clear, they decide what they will become, a doctor, teacher, fireman, or astronaut. Next and perhaps most importantly they do the work to bring their aspiration into reality. Jackhammer people focus in the way an arrow focus it’s energy on it’s flight to the target. Those jack hammer people travel swift and far arriving exactly where they had planned, on target.
Then there are those people whose life is lived like a bumble bee or butterfly They travel from one flower, then another, gathering knowledge, learning and growing with each and every flight. Their journey does not flow like the flight of the arrow, quite the contrary their journey zigs and zags. Their journey travels over different fields seeking flowers rich in nourishing pollen nectar. Collecting nectar for bees is like collecting ideas, experiences, and skills for us humans. Some of us travel on life’s paths, collecting experiences until one day we take the sum total of our journey, on that day, is when we know we have found our passion.
Ms. Gilbert suggests we shouldn’t value the jackhammers journey over the bumblebees and butterflies. The route of the journey takes is not important. So what may take the butterfly and bumblebee longer to discover their lives passion. We should honor both the jackhammer and bumblebee.
Big Magic offers deeper insights into finding your passion and so much more, Be sure to grab a copy then find a comfortable chair, because you won’t be able to put it down.
This conversation tells the story of Executive Coach – Blair Glaser’s journey. Listen in, as we discover together if the trajectory of her journey, was more like the flight of the butterfly, or the bumblebee.
During our chat, Blair & I talk about:
Studying acting as a pre-teen in NYC
Studying Theatre Arts at Northwestern University
The Collective Dance
Overcoming Blocks and Obstacles
Love of Teaching
Being a Clinician
Executive Coach Role & Responsibilities
Workshops in the Woods – Nature as Teacher
Finding you power by embracing you story
Now it’s time to go prepare your favorite cup of coffee, tea. If it’s later in the day perhaps it’s the perfect time for a glass of red wine and tray meats and cheeses. Next, you’ll want to find your favorite comfy sofa or chair and settle in.
I am delighted to have this opportunity to chat with my favorite Executive Coach, Blair Glaser. During our chat, she offers insights into her journey. When you listen closely you may hear an idea, two or more for how to optimize your journey.
My goal in our chat was to illustrate for everyone listening live and on replay that finding your passion may not happen when you want it to, because it’s a journey. So, be sure to remember to take copious notes at every milestone on your journey. One day the experiences you had and the notes you took, will serve you well. Embrace the ride.
Mont Blanc is approaching a 200-year anniversary and, is one of the worlds oldest prestigious luxury brands. Mont Blanc marks time with beautiful timepieces. This short video is a compelling representation of what an engaging marketing campaign can look like.
Mont Blanc didn’t just produce a campaign that told the story of their brand, they asked the community to participate in telling the story. The storytellers of this Mont Blanc campaign engaged in becoming a part of the Mont Blanc marketing experience. The community of storytellers helped Mont Blanc become a story doer.
Discussions about the power of storytelling have been fashionable in marketing circles for a while now. So, why the new monicker STORY DOING? Ty Montaque writes in Harvard Business Review an article titled: Good companies are storytellers. Great companies are storydoers. Here is an excerpt from his article “Story doing companies create fierce loyalty and evangelism in their customers. Their stories are told primarily via word of mouth and are amplified by social media tools.”
The results achieved by this really simple campaign with virtually all of the content created by the community of users and raving fans produced these astounding result:
The competition received 3,769 videos produced by people outside the brand
Great press from many of the major global luxury brand magazines
In 60 days 4,000,000 media impressions
An estimated 40,000,000 media impressions
A 40% increase of followers on Facebook
Those are pretty impressive results achieved by a campaign where all of the content was created by people.
Have you harnessed the power of storytelling to serve your brands growth? Give us a call we are here to you become a story doer too.
The Art of Standing Out – How our brand name became our Northstar.
Spending time working with my executive coaches helped me find the Northstar in my brand name that was hiding in plain sight. My executive coach simply pointed to what was already there in the acronym for The Art of Standing Out ~TAOSO.
This post is a story of serendipity.
The Art of Standing OutRead the text to understand what was hiding in our business name and how once accepted it became our Northstar. Watch the video podcast to hear our thoughts on the power of Storytelling and why you should learn to harness your story powers.
In 2009 I launched my social media marketing agency and named it The Art of Inbound Marketing. I was very pleased with myself when I selected that name because I had always wanted a business with my name on the masthead. Utilizing the Art of, satisfied that itch and yes, I thought I was clever using the play on words – The Art of. However, unbeknownst to me, serendipity had intervened on my behalf and bestowed “The Art of” moniker onto me and my business for a reason.
In 2014, in order to provide a more end to end suite of solutions to the customers I serve, I added a second line of business to my practice. The new line of business became The Art of Standing Out focuses on using human-centered design and brand storytelling to create compelling brand strategies. With a solid brand strategy, our clients are able to optimize their marketing which allows them to maximize sales performance.
In 2015 something almost magical happened. One day while working on a proposal and looking at the acronym TAOSO, which represents the brand name The Art of Standing Out, I realized the first three characters make the word TAO. Taoism also spelled Daoismhas shaped Chinese life for more than 2,000 years. The central principle of the TAO philosophy is everything is better when it works in harmony with everything else in the world. Merriam Webster says the TAO is the art or skill of doing something in harmony with the essential nature of the thing.
What struck me about my discovery was the intention of the word TAO was, in fact, consistent with my intention for my business. My business practices are focused on helping my clients establish alignment and harmony between the following:
What they do
Why they do it
Who they do it for
How their clients are changed after they acquire their products or service.
Initially, I thought, well that’s nice but you can not inject Chinese philosophy into your brand story. I asked myself who aside from me, a person with experience practicing Tai Chi (which is intrinsically connected to Taoist/Daoist philosophy). I was certain people would not get it, the whole idea would be a bridge too far for my clients to cross, the brand would be rejected as being too frou-frou.
This is where my executive coach enters to help me realize I had a blind spot when looking at my brand name. My executive coach shined a light on the opportunity my brand name had delivered to me, the challenge she presented was would I embrace the guiding light that shone brightly from the name #TAOSO?
Then, one day soon thereafter, I sat down with a perfect cup of coffee to read a book by Elizabeth Gilbert titled Big Magic. In her book, she wrote, and I paraphrase – As an artist, there are times when you have a great idea, perhaps it’s a great treatment for a book. You work on the book and then one day you set it aside and begin work on something else. Elizabeth says that the Muse is always watching the artist at work. When the work is going well the job of the muse is to provide a constant flow of inspiration. However, when the artist falters and falls into inactivity for far too long, the muse becomes anxious, believing the idea will not come into existence. So as guardian of great ideas and provider of inspiration the Muse moves to take your idea from you and find someone else who is ready to embrace the idea. The Muse begins looking for someone else, someone truly ready to use the idea and take persistent action. The muse moves to find someone committed to breathe life into that great idea.
So, after reading that passage in that book. I knew I was faced with a choice. Embrace the serendipity and embrace the true nature of the work I do, why I do it. My mission is to encourage businesses and business pros to work toward establishing strategic alignment between every element of their internal operations with the intent to bring the business into alignment with their external business partners, the community of fans and of course their clients.
For me, this became a big part of my evolution. Ii went from a business with the intention to make money and transformed into a business unabashedly committed to and proud of liberating this idea of The Art of was more than a clever play on my name but an integral piece of the why I do what I do and how we do it. With this realization, my brand became more complete. The intention puzzle was now clearly in focus. I now proudly allow the idea of TAO to drive our focus on helping our clients achieve alignment and harmony in all things related to their business. TAO has become central to our philosophy, our brand strategy and serves as a constant great reminder of what the work we do is all about.
And so the story goes, once upon a time, I was happy because I’d found a clever way to incorporate my name into my brand. Adding my name to my brand name, was my ego talking seeking ego gratification.
Today my perspective is completely different. These three letters, TAO when coupled with our embrace of Human Centered Design function as our twin NorthStars, guiding our business intention and interactions with the people and businesses we’ve built The Art of Standing Out to serve.
I came close to changing my business names to more something more vanilla. Now I am very glad I didn’t. The acronym TAO remains an integral part of our brand name and holds an esteemed position in our brand lore.
Now about the video of my conversation with interviewer Jonathan Tripp (attached above).
About 12 months ago, I enjoyed the pleasure of talking with the host of Jonathan Tripp Live, Jonathan Tripp. During our conversation, we talked about many things yet we always seemed to circle back to, how storytelling empowers Leaders to LEAD.
Jonathan is a great interviewer and asked thoughtful questions. There is a point during the interview where you will hear a long pause as I stop to process how to answer one of his questions. Great questions are a signature of what makes a great interviewer and Jonathan is a great interviewer.
Hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed the conversation.
So, it’s time to go get your favorite beverage, and head over to that comfortable chair to tune into our video podcast. I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed the thought-provoking conversation.
Our story illustrates how each of us has blind spots preventing us from seeing, and engaging with awesome opportunities. Executive coaching works like an x-ray machine, illuminating things that are there yet you can neither see nor sense.
We are here to serve as your executive coach when we will be ready when you are. Give us a call, we would love to hear from you.
Welcome back to The Art of Standing Out for another podcast episode.
In this episode Tracy Goodwin Founder of Captivate The Room, interviews me. We discuss my business practice, what I do, who I do it for and how they are changed after acquiring my products and/or services.
I am always a bit intimidated when speaking with Tracy because after all, she is an expert voice and presentation coach/trainer. However I’ve got a thick skin and know everytime I speak with Tracy even when she is interviewing me, I learn something. that is the true benefit of always surrounding yourself with brilliant people.
So now it’s almost time for us to begin. Go and get your favorite beverage, find a comfortable chair and settle in for my conversation with Tracy as we discuss The Art of Standing Out.
Plato was right 2,500 years ago when he said ” Those who tell the stories rule the world”
Dr. Paul Zak a Neuroscientist tells us his research proves when a human listens to a story certain types of stories have the ability to change the biology in humans.
However, simply having a story to share isn’t enough. the best stories resonate with the majority of people because the story is built with knowledge of the norms, folkways, and customs of the people in the communities receiving it.
Yes, sharing your story in context with what your audience already believes is key. Making your story relatable means you touch your audience in the heart and gut to make them feel what you are conveying in your story.
When we speak from a place that all humans aspire to when we speak from a position steeped in authentic INTEGRITY that is when the ears of the people you seek to reach perk up and listen more intently because then your works are signing their song too.
Want to be a better leader, a better communicator, capable of leading your organization, your tribe, then always be nurturing your sense of empathy and always act and speak from a position of integrity.
Mr. Robert Mueller the former FBI director, a leader with impeccable credentials and many years of public service, when speaking at Tabor Academy, and addressing the student body said this:
“When given the opportunity to address students, I always mention integrity because it is so essential to who and what you ultimately will become,” Mueller said. “Whatever we do, we must act with honesty and with integrity, and regardless of your chosen career, you are only as good as your word.”
This is why our podcast is about the myriad ways founders and leaders can harness the power of story while standing upon the foundation of the integrity they live by, employ storytelling to advance their vision in order to help you become the best leader you can be too.
When we think of storytelling we might think of the first children’s book we read, our favorite writer, director or how the business world is now infatuated with harnessing the power of story.
Storytelling hasn’t changed only the technologies we use to convey and share our stories has (WordPress, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat).
However, those stories are not what this video is about. This video presents a compelling series of vignettes showing us how when people change their personal narrative, the story they tell themselves about themselves. Their new story has the power to change how they see themselves, enabling them to step own their power and place in the world.
Words have power. When we string them together in the form of a story our words grow in power. Be careful of the words you use to describe who you really are. Don’t deceive yourself, don’t believe the hype.
You are the actor, writer, director, producer, set designer, casting director of your life. So, be careful of the role you cast yourself in, the script you hand yourself.