Here are 7 ways to identify the possible stories in your own organization:
- Once Upon A Time: Does your company or client have an instructive story from its history to share with others? Are there some “lessons learned” that could benefit your community?
- What if?: People are fascinated and terrified by the future. We crave stories that control that fear by predicting what might happen next. There’s no reason your organization can’t identify some potential scenarios for your own industry.
- David vs. Goliath: Are you the underdog? Tell your audience about the day-to-day struggle against the “giant.” And if you are Goliath, spend your time telling stories about how you help the “little guys.”
- Adam and Eve: Romantic stories hold tremendous appeal for all of us. And they do exist in business, from mergers & acquisitions to the passion of innovation to the steadfast commitment of an employee.
- Hannibal Lecters: In the book “Silence of the Lambs,” Clarice is much more interesting when she’s in a scene with Dr. Lecter. Simply put, your potential customers are intrigued by villains, so is there a “bad guy” you can use to your advantage?
- Heros or, better yet, Frodos: In Tolkein’s “Lord of the Rings,” we are inspired by Frodo because he is not a typical hero. He’s far too small and quiet, though he ultimately succeeds where everyone else failed. When choosing your own leadership stories, the CEO may be the perfect choice. But don’t stop there. Search for the rising star or an unexpected voice.
- A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words: Sometimes words can’t do justice to a story. Think of the unforgettable picture of the lone protestor standing in front of the tank in Tiannemen Square. Businesses have their own pictures, too. It could be as simple as capturing the right moment with a customer or as insightful as a graphic from the masterful David Armano.
Of the 30 entrepreneurs profiled for the 2008 Inc Top 30 Under 30, 18 have personal or business Twitter accounts and 19 host personal or corporate blogs. One can only expect 2009’s list to increase these numbers and put a larger emphasis on social media as it starts to encompass more and more aspects of their business landscape.
When asked how important social media is to their startup, Brazen Careerist co-founder Ryan Healy responded, “we know that if you don’t incorporate social media into every part of your product, you can’t win. So we built Brazen on the premise that social media is no longer optional – it has to seamlessly integrate with the rest of the site and business.”
Gen-Y is eager to change the way business is done and they want to do it now. Technology and new media are playing a key role in how these young organizations are not only started, but how they get funded, how they spread the word and how they pay their bills. Dona Fenn, author of Upstarts! How GenY Entrepreneurs are Rocking the World of Business and 8 Ways You can Profit From Their Success, and Millennial Generation Blogger for Inc says of Gen-Y entrepreneurs that, “one of the re-emerging themes in the businesses they start is dissatisfaction with the status quo.”
As Honda Motor (HMC) announced plans in mid-July for its 2010 hybrid vehicles, the company introduced a leader with a hybrid role: Takanobu Ito, its new president and chief executive, is also Honda’s director of research and development. The decision to take on multiple roles while steering the automaker through the worldwide downturn is strategic. “The direction of the business and the direction of the technology need to be aligned as early as possible [in my tenure as CEO] so that we can maximize efficiency and effectiveness,”
Ad Age’s Matt Jones’ article “Why I Hate Social Media” grabbed my attention. Here is an excerpt:
People are interesting. Ideas are interesting. Stories are interesting. Real stuff is interesting. Brands are interesting (or, at least, some of them are). Even ads can be interesting. But media? Media just connects those things. It’s a conduit. Media is not interesting. Not even the “social” kind.
He’s right of course. The only people who really care about the developments in social media are the people making the developments. Yet the mainstream media, me and my peers, and brand marketers everywhere seem to perpetually be drawn to the discussion of the thing rather than how to make people, ideas, and stories interesting.
Stories are social, not media.
There are two types of schedule, which I’ll call the manager’sWhen you use time that way, it’s merely a practical problem to meet
schedule and the maker’s schedule. The manager’s schedule is for
bosses. It’s embodied in the traditional appointment book, with
each day cut into one hour intervals. You can block off several
hours for a single task if you need to, but by default you change
what you’re doing every hour.
with someone. Find an open slot in your schedule, book them, and
you’re done. Most powerful people are on the manager’s schedule. It’s the
schedule of command. But there’s another way of using time that’s
common among people who make things, like programmers and writers.
They generally prefer to use time in units of half a day at least.
You can’t write or program well in units of an hour. That’s barely
enough time to get started. When you’re operating on the maker’s schedule, meetings are a
disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking
it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in. Plus you
have to remember to go to the meeting. That’s no problem for someone
on the manager’s schedule. There’s always something coming on the
next hour; the only question is what. But when someone on the
maker’s schedule has a meeting, they have to think about it. For someone on the maker’s schedule, having a meeting is like
throwing an exception. It doesn’t merely cause you to switch from
one task to another; it changes the mode in which you work.
Are you a manager or a maker?
Provocative image of a lightening strike over Sydney was declared the winner of the contest they ran via their Bingle Fan page on Facebook.
As a visual learner, I know a picture is worth a thousand words, which is a major differentiator for Bing since 70% of us are visually-oriented.
No matter what your politics are…this is Shatner as post-modern icon than Sarah Palin. LOL. Seriously.
Whether people are online or offline, the motivators that spur people to share information fall into four buckets: Self-Expression, Status Achievement, Altruism and Self-Serving.
In the traditional direct marketing world, people are motivated by cash — or saving it in the form of coupons, discounts, etc. Within social media, the biggest motivator is often self-expression. That means finding a promotion that allows customers to express themselves, such as customizing a Nike (NYSE: NKE) shoe that they can share with their friends.
Most people like to brag, and that tendency is multiplied by the Web. Creating a promotion that allows customers to improve their status amongst their peers is an effective way to get them to share with their network. For example, Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) might reward loyal shoppers with early access to a new product release, and then encourage them to share this advanced access with their friends. Putting shoppers in a position of power among their peers is a big motivator.
In addition to bragging, people also like to do good — especially when it’s convenient. In the above-mentioned airline example, allowing consumers to share carbon offsets taps into a person’s altruistic nature. This promotion makes the consumer feel good, not only for helping to save the planet, but also for helping their friends feel good about joining the cause. In this scenario, consumers are motivated to share by the opportunity to do something good — not because of some physical reward they are going to get back in return.
While self-serving offers work really well in the offline world (coupons, discounts, etc.), this motivator is less potent in the realm of social networking. However, that’s not to say that it can’t be effective if done right. Combining a self serving-offer with one that taps into status achievement is one way to maximize results. For example, you can give a person a $100 gift certificate for forwarding a $20 coupon to 10 friends. The consumer wins big — a financial reward plus status among friends.