Conversation Agent - Valeria Maltoni - Ask Away: Storytelling in Marketing, Mark Goren -- Part One

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Two things, first I think you are correct, most of us business people tend to want to get to the "and here's is why you want to buy this/us" too soon.

I believe this stems from a need to validate that we are useful in our prospects' eyes. When you're in sales, you need constant feedback on how you're doing. And we may not feel we have a whole lot of time to be building permission-based relationships.

Context in story, as you point out, is everything. That's why it takes a while for people to establish personal brands, for companies to build great product brands, etc.

Which brings me to what Mark is saying here: brand and story are participatory activities. So the more it flows out of a combination of who you are and what is perceived, the stronger the brand and story. In that case, it feels authentic.

I think a story can be told in the mental rehearsal that people have the opportunity to do when presented with a good question.


Mchale: Great questions, let me give answering you a try.

It depends how you define story. If you accept that a story can evolve, then you can think of a blog as justification for that story (a great way to think about it), but also as clarification, editing and rewriting that story too.

I know that I believe certain things and that a great many things I write on my blog I have strong opinions about. But the beauty of it all is being able to have these conversations and allowing your story to evolve through the opinions, facts and conversations of/with others.

It's natural to want to justify what you're thinking – what's unnatural is to believe it to be wholeheartedly true. Good marketers are out here asking to be challenged – and not assuming that what they say is the gospel.

This is the first time I am adding my voice to this discussion. It's due to the fact that I have had an epiphany, if you will about the importance of social media, or whatever you would prefer to call it.

I think the cumulative effect of reading the voices here, as well as my respect for them has definitely added to it. However it was Ms. Maltoni's example of gift giving to clients and inserting her card that illuminated the relevance of what everyone here is talking about. That follow-up she referred to is key. I'm still not convinced this always leads to a company's success though I do believe it probably leads the company away from failure as much as realistically possible.

I also think that bringing in "storytelling" into this dialogue was critical to me and that factor makes me believe that by emphasizing "storytelling media" may get a wider net of people to understand what social media is all about.

A question I have about this is whether people are telling a story every time they blog or respond to one. I don't think they are. Much of what I read online is rationale to support a person's view that their story is superior rather than telling the story itself. The de-railing factor to successful storytellling is that often times they did not fully express or tell their story to its fullest comprehension. Because of this, people do not understand where they are coming from. Storytelling after all is an art.

Had a listener previously known an amateur storyteller's story, they would understand where the person is coming from better. That doesn't mean they would agree. It just means they would "get" where the person is coming from.

From there, (and this is something I need to think about) my first impression is that at a certain point storytelling ends and story-rationalizing ping pong begins. Doesn't the insertion of strong "justification" into a conversation stop the dialogue or potential sidetrack a story from being fully told?; especially if the listener thinks the rationale/justification of the storyteller's story is unfair, or not in the realm of possibility?

Secondly, is a story being told in a question?


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