The Diary Of A CEO with Steven Bartlett

A few years ago I was a broke, university dropout, living in a studio-flat in a rough area. At 18 I started a company which would eventually become "Social Chain" - an industry leading marketing company. At 26 the company was generating $600m a year in revenue. At 27 I resigned as CEO, and launched 'The Diary Of A CEO' podcast with the simple mission of un-filtering success and giving you the knowledge you need to create the life you want. Thank you for listening. IG: TW: LI:

Moment 101 - This 1 Skill Will Transform Your Life: Will Storr

Moment 101 - This 1 Skill Will Transform Your Life: Will Storr

Fri, 17 Mar 2023 06:00

Why do you connect with certain adverts or businesses? Is it because of their impressive facts or statistics, it’s more likely that you had an emotional connection that is hard for you to even describe rationally. In this moment Will Storr discusses how humans are storytelling animals, the very language of our brains are stories and they are the way we process the world around us. That’s why it doesn’t matter if you are a Fortune 500 company or talking to a new person, if you aren’t communicating with stories you aren’t communicating.

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In the diorevisio we have hundreds of questions that have been left by our guests and we've put them on these cards. And on these cards you have the question that's been left in the diorevisio, the name of the person who wrote the question. And if you turn it over there's a QR code. If you scan that code you can see which guest answered the question and watch the video of them answering it. Every time I've done this podcast and every time we've asked the kind of questions we ask here I feel a tremendous sense of affinity to the guest. And our aim with these cards is that you can create that sense of connection through vulnerability at home with the people you love the most. And I have some good news for you. As of today you can add your name to the waiting list to be the first in line to get your own set of conversation cards at That is On that point of storytelling you mentioned storytelling there and on narrative your book in 2019 was about storytelling. I, having worked in marketing was very compelled to read this book for the probably you know we talked before we start recording that a lot of people will see a book about with the word storytelling on the front of it and think that they can use it from a marketing capacitor or in a business sense. What have you learnt about how people can tell great stories in the context of business and marketing? Yeah well so quite a lot I teach business storytelling at section 4 which is a American EdTech organisation. So I do a course there in the science of storytelling for business. And you know we are storytelling animals we think in story, we narrative is basically how we experience ourselves and life. And so as I say in that course if you are not communicating with stories in marketing you are not communicating. You know logic and facts and data and statistics that is not the language of the brain. The language of the brain is beginning, middle and end, a character overcoming obstacles. I think a lot of the stuff we were talking about is important especially that idea that people think with their feelings. You know it is feelings first story second the story justifies the feelings. And so if you want to tell persuasive stories you need to first understand exactly who you are communicating with and you need to understand how they feel about the world, how they feel about themselves, how they feel about justice and what their values are. And so that means understanding them kind of tribally what groups do they belong to, who are their heroes, who are their villains, what motivates them, what demotivates them. So before you can sort of write the story you need to figure out how they feel about the world. So a bad story then would be one that was, because you know I thought about this a lot in my previous business was very successful in storytelling. So my first company social chain it's going to be a very big business maybe a thousand employees worldwide. We started out as a marketing agency, never had a sales team because we focused on telling stories. Those stories were told on social media and on stage by me. So when I would go up on stage and talk about our agency to try and win business from Napple or Coca-Cola, whoever it was, I would actually start by talking about my relationship with my mother. And that would be the first sentences out of my mouth when I walked on stage. If there was a thousand people or 15,000 people there, it would be about my mother. And through that story about my mother and my upbringing and my battles and all those things eventually you'd learn about our business and what we do and about the great work we do. And that meant we never needed a sales team. I've always believed that if I'd walked on stage and started with a case study, I would have had to have a sales team at social teams on one of the doors. I think this is one of the biggest mistakes businesses make. When they pitch, when they speak on stage, when they post on social media, I think they have a, they believe that the listener wants big numbers and to how many views they got for their clients or, you know, and it just doesn't seem to be consistent with reality. No, it's not. I mean, so what you're doing when you're going into about your mother is you're connecting emotionally. So people are wanting, they're on your side immediately and you're making them feel good, you're making them feel things emotionally. The kind of framework that I use for business storytelling is that is that, you know, essentially people's brains process reality in the same way. And that's the, you know, so they're the hero of their story. You're not the hero standing on the stage. The company that selling to you isn't the hero. They're the hero of their own story. They are, you know, they've got goals that are trying to pursue. We will have, you know, that we should have the plots of our lives. The audience. Yeah, the audience, the person you're selling to. And then there's a brilliant story analyst, a call Christopher Booker, who wrote this amazing book called The Seven Basic Plots. And he writes about an archetypal character in storytelling that he calls light figures. And so the light figure is the example he uses are the three ghosts in Christmas Carol, the Charles Dickens Scrooge story. So Scrooge is the hero of that story. But the three ghosts come into show him Christmas past, Christmas present, Christmas future. They help him get what he needs, which is to become a better, more selfless, more generous, more loving, giving person. So they are going to, they arrive in his story to kind of show him the way to help him get what he needs. And so that's what I argue. That's the appropriate positions for most companies and organizations and these are not to be the hero because your audience feels like they're the hero. You're the light figure. You're there to help them get what they want. So when you go straight in with his or my awards, he is what this person said about me. Here's some statistics and stuff. You're not a light figure. You're presenting as the hero. All people really want to know is how can you help me get what I want? And that's the story that you have to tell. What kind of example can you give me to really make that, make me understand that in a real practical sense? Is there a brand you've seen do this really well? Is there an example of a, I mean, my brain went to Nike for some reason. Yeah. Yeah. Well, that's, Nike's really interesting example. So obviously one of the things that Nike has done recently is it's done that ad campaign around Colin Kaepernick, which is controversial, but did them, I think they're sometimes like six percent, like after that ad campaign. And that's a really good example of an organization who is behaving as a light figure. So that Colin Kaepernick campaign has nothing to do with shoes. What they're not doing is going, our shoes will make you run eight percent faster. We've got these sprung souls. We've got these amazing laces that won't trip you up or whatever. You know, they're stateless, there's not in there. It's purely, they're telling a story. They've figured out that their client base are mostly believing, so, you know, this set of beliefs around the world. And those are goals, you know, people who, you know, the target audience that they're appealing to want to achieve this kind of racial social justice, and it's important to them. So what Nike are basically saying is, you know, we are light figures in the world. We are on the side of the Colin Kaepernick's off the people who are kneeling. We believe that Black Lives Matter. And so they're presenting as a light figure. And if you think about it rationally, it's kind of crazy. Like, why would a shoe company have this political thing? But it's because of the storytelling, because they're presenting as a light figure who was engaged in the kind of, you know, this particular mission in the world. Because, you know, in order to kind of, to kind of join the mission, you buy the Nike shoes and it worked, you know, it works really well. I mean, one of the archetypal examples that I talk about that I love is that there was an ad that was broadcast, I think it was in the 60s by Volkswagen. And it was the first kind of modern ad advert. It was the first advert that you would look at and recognize as the kind of advertising that we do today. But before this Volkswagen ad, you know, all ads were just stats lists. Here's this amazing, you know, tire and, you know, this will get you naught to 60 and whatever. And then this Volkswagen did this amazing ad where it just, it was black and white because it was still in the days of black and white. And they had, it just showed this guy. It was also snowing in the big blizzard outside. And this guy gets in his car. He turns, he's like, it's like, you know, just before dawn, turns on his ignition, drives his car through the blizzard, the blizzard, the blizzard. Opens his huge shed doors. And then he hit his big engine start up and out drives his snow plow. And it's, how does the guy who drives the snow plow get to the snow plow? And it's just a Volkswagen. And that's a really simple, really effective story. And it's showing Volkswagen, is this life figure? We are helping the hero achieve what he wants. And you know, I don't believe that the Volkswagen was particularly good at driving through blizzards. I don't believe that. And there's certainly won't make any factual claim in the sense that we are better than Land Rover and whatever, whatever, whatever doing this because of this stat. It was as simple as that. And it revolutionized marketing. It changed everything because they'd figured out that kind of life figure form of storytelling. And are they saying that the Volkswagen, Volkswagen enables you to be the hero that was the hero? Exactly. Yeah. Looks like you're saying that the Nike shoe associates with Colin Kaepernick enables you to be the social activist hero. Exactly. Yeah. Colin Kaepernick was. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Fascinating. I'm just going to change a few things about my, if you have my companies, I think, on the basis of that. Yeah, I think we, I think in the course of business, we all forget that emotion is the most important thing. I'm thinking about all the newsletters that my companies have been writing. I've got various companies and the newsletters they write and the videos we make and how, and how sometimes we think that facts and figures and information is what the viewer is looking for in their lives. But the most compelling way to draw them in to whatever we're doing, whether it's a newsletter or a tweet or whatever is by putting emotion fast and really thinking about what the emotion of the content is. Yeah, exactly. And with the Nike example, I mean, we live in, since the global Android crisis, we live in heightened political times. And so, you know, and people are always tribal. And so, you know, one of the big things that the successful kind of persuaders do is to make those tribal appeals. And sometimes it works with Colin Kaepernack, like with the Gillette, Fraser campaign, it didn't work. Because you're kind of essentially attacking your target audience. So that was less successful. I think there was a terrible Pepsi out of it, kind of, Jenna. Oh, God, you're thinking about that. Where they were kind of basically, yeah, where we were just making this, yeah, well, it put a super rich, beautiful model white woman as the hero. I can't say. We're so injustice. And drinking the sugary drink is going to help. Yeah, you know, so. It's just all off of you. Yeah, so, so I think organisations are sensing that partly how we can be a light figure these days is by presenting as people who are assisting in these. These political goals have become very important to people, especially young people. And some people are getting it right. Some people are getting it wrong. There's a real science to it, though, isn't there? Yeah. More we've spoken. I've realised how there is a science to it when you understand the roles and also the audience. The roles of the characters in your content or your piece and also where the, it's really about where the audience sees themselves, you say. Yeah. And they feel represented.