On stories and marketing

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At today’s Eduweb conference, I had the pleasure of sitting in on Julie Campbell’s Storytelling session. Julie brought lots of things to think about and questions to ask. A few simple takeaways:

Your child never asks at bedtime to tell them about a press release. They do ask you to tell them a story. How would you make your story compelling to a 9 year old?

Find your “save the cat” moments. In the movie The Incredibles, a diversion by the hero, Mr. Incredible, to save a cat in the midst of a crisis reveals a lot more about his character than the main story plot in a very compact way. As you work on finding your story, look for “save the cat” moments of your own that appear at first to be setbacks but highlight the best parts of your overall story and brand.

You can and should always tell the truth in your stories. Even if the truth is ugly, you can improve your ability to tell a story about it skillfully.

Your customer must be your advisor. If you’re marketing to students, you’d better have a student on your advisory board or marketing team. If you’re marketing to 50 year old professionals, you’d better have them on your team in some capacity or you’re going to create and tell stories that don’t resonate.

A terrific session with lots of additional takeaways and reading lists. After I’ve bought and read all the recommended books, I’ll have a list of which ones really resonated. Thanks to Julie Campbell for a thought provoking talk.

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