From Seth Godin: How to tell a great story

I want to share a blog post about storytelling, or more precisely, telling your company’s story. It’s from a wonderful blogger and best-selling author, Seth Godin. I’ve edited it down slightly, and rearranged it some. I hope Seth doesn’t mind. Read the full post at Seth’s Blog. Here the highlights:

Great stories are rarely aimed at everyone… The most effective stories match the world view of a tiny audience—and then that tiny audience spreads the story.

Seth Godin's blog

I hope Seth doesn't hate me for this.

A great story is true. Not necessarily because it’s factual, but because it’s consistent and authentic. Consumers are too good at sniffing out inconsistencies for a marketer to get away with a story that’s just slapped on… If your restaurant is in the right location but had the wrong menu, you lose. If your art gallery carries the right artists but your staff is made up of rejects from a used car lot, you lose. Consumers are clever and they’ll see through your deceit at once. …

Great stories make a promise… The promise needs to be bold and audacious. It’s either exceptional or it’s not worth listening to.

Great stories are trusted. Trust is the scarcest resource we’ve got left. No one trusts anyone. …

Great stories are subtle… Talented marketers understand that allowing people to draw their own conclusions is far more effective than announcing the punch line.

Great stories don’t appeal to logic, but they often appeal to our senses. …

The best stories don’t teach people anything new. Instead, the best stories agree with what the audience already believes and makes the members of the audience feel smart and secure when reminded how right they were in the first place.

Notice that second sentence? This was written in 2006, way before social media hit its stride. Imagine how more important it is today to make your company story tight and compelling.

I’m going to write a lot about storytelling in the weeks ahead. Just a warning. In the meantime, does your company have a good story to tell?  If not, what are you going to do about it?

More about stories:
When raving fans spread your message
A business lesson from Buzz Lightyear

4 thoughts on “From Seth Godin: How to tell a great story

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