July 17, 2013
Staff Picks: True Story: How to Combine Story and Action to Transform Your Business
"Metastory is a story that is told through action. It is not a story that you say, it's a story that you do. Every individual has one. You have one. And every company has one, too.”
The goal of True Story: How to Combine Story and Action to Transform Your Business by Ty Montague is to lead you and/or your organization from being a storyteller to a storydoer. Montague defines StoryDoing as "the power of story combined with the power of innovative action..." and uses Red Bull as an example of a company willing to let its activities develop their brand and vice versa. What began as an energy drink in Asia developed into a standard bearer in extreme sports because Red Bull participated and sponsored in gravity-defying events which conveyed the company message: "Red Bull gives you wings." The unspoken part that appealed to the non-base-jumper in most people is: the drink will give you the energy and guts to achieve great things, even if those things seem a little bit crazy.
The benefits of developing a StoryDoing marketing strategy include:
1) reducing the cost of paid media
2) the development and communication of a more clearly defined purpose than words
3) an increased depth of authenticity and humanity that has been lost in many traditional companies today
4) creating a loyal and dedicated fanbase
Not only does Montague coin the portmanteau, StoryDoing, he also calls for the shelving of another popular marketing buzz word--audience--declaring it "an outdated term because the people experiencing a modern metastory are not passive observers. Your customers are emotional, and in many cases, physical participants in your metastory." Your customers are not your customers. Your audience is not your audience. Rather, you are all in this together.
The majority of the book covers the four truths you'll need to define before settling on your metastory ("What we wish to become"). In addition to Participants ("Who we are for"), a metastory must consist of a Protagonist ("Our story today"), a Stage ("The world we are doing business in"), and a Quest (Our driving ambition and contribution to the world").
Then Montague moves the material from theory to action with a plan that helps connects the four truths to the necessary action essential for giving your metastory life. For your participants, you must develop the right offerings. As the protagonist, you must create a corporate identity. The stage on which you perform includes an assessment of your own capabilities and partnerships, and finally, your quest must be communicated to and gain its energy from your employees.
The conclusion of True Story emphasizes the importance of a storydoing culture starting at the top. Once the company's metastory has been established, then it is crucial that it is integrated within all training and educational experiences at all levels.
What is the payoff of becoming a storydoing company? According to Montague, plenty:
Businesses that are passionate about making great experiences for people will win over time. Today the really monster successes are growing not from the question "How do we make as much money as possible?" but rather from the question "How do we make this a richer, more satisfying, more meaningful experience for people?"
An original take on using story to convey your brand promises, True Story will provide you with the answer.
About Sally Haldorson
Sally Haldorson's job as 800-CEO-READ’s General Manager is to make 800-CEO-READ a great place to work for our employees, and a consistently high-performing customer service organization for our clients, authors, and our partners in the publishing industry. In addition to her General Manager duties ensuring collaboration, integration, and quality, she reads, writes, reviews, curates, and edits for the company. Helping craft The 100 Best Business Books of All Time used parts of both skill sets. Outside of work, she is most likely to be found hitting a tennis ball around or hanging out with her boys (husband, child, dog) at home.