“Story Coaching” – Conversation Is King, Collaboration Is Queen
We all know how the traditional media marketing world of the 20th century worked. Just watch AMC’s “Mad Men.” Day after day, well–dressed and well-paid ad executives (think Don Draper) holed up in their tony Manhattan high rise offices over bourbon and smokes. When they weren’t ogling the hired help, they heroically hatched ideas for clients, presented under pressure in big boardrooms or over drinks at the downtown watering hole.
TeeVee hyperbole aside, times have changed, thanks to the power of 21st century convergent media and organizations increasingly impatient with advertising firms unilaterally telling them how to market themselves. I had a conversation with a potential client the other day in which she expressed disappointment with the marketing work of one of Vermont’s senior agencies. “What happened?” I said. “They came into our office, took notes, and then returned several weeks later with a plan they dropped onto our desk telling us everything we already knew and were already doing,” she replied. “And they charged us a lot of money, too.”
Her story confirms what many of us understand about how marketing’s rules have changed. The famous 20th century advertising phrase “Content Is King” has been replaced by a new 21st convergent media mantra: “Conversation Is King.” In a world of storytelling networks, developing a compelling story that generates meaningful dialogue about your brand, business, or organization is job #1. In the 21st century networked world of “many to many,” marketing agencies are no longer the exclusive experts with the magical key to the kingdom. Instead, we must look beyond the heroic Don Draper model to new forms of collaboration between marketing agencies and the clients they serve.
With these two challenges in mind, we at HigherMind Mediaworks have developed an approach we call “Story Coaching,” built around a “Conversation is King, Collaboration is Queen” philosophy and designed for a 21st century convergent media universe. Here are “Story Coaching’s” five basic elements.
#1: Storytelling = Creative Collaboration, Emergent Possibilities
In our HigherMind story coaching approach, we invite the client to the media table, early and often, to collaborate on the storytelling process. We’re convinced that regular dialogue between stakeholders is the key to successful story coaching. Equally as important? Be attuned to new emerging possibilities beyond Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, vlogging and other storytelling standards. Mobile marketing via smart phones, new networks like www.foursquare.com, fresh apps like Instagram – all offer new and emerging venues for telling your story.
#2: Fresh Ears = The Art of Listening
Organizations understand their own stories. That said, we are confident that HigherMind can offer new ears for listening and fresh eyes for seeing what organizations may miss – a new angle, an unheard voice, an underutilized resource, a gap in the network. Let us be “fresh ears” to listen as we work with you to tell your story more effectively.
#3: Question Everything = Sharpen The Story
We understand that in a new networked world of conversation, asking about an organizational story’s “whats” and “whys” lead to sharpening an oft-told story, or co-authoring a new chapter, often with new tools and platforms. (See #1, above)
#4: Process = Conversation is Critical
In working with our clients, we expect that the best part about story coaching is the internal conversation it generates about vision, energy, and momentum. Conversation is King, Collaboration is Queen, and process is everything.
#5: Metrics Matter = Measure Your Storytelling Success
We recommend using available analytics tools to try and quantify collaborative storytelling, of course, but also suggest tracking building of your community beyond metrics, as well. Who has joined your network through your storytelling efforts, and are you taking full advantage of their connection to your story?
And, whatever else we do, let’s not forget this last informal rule. Have fun. Story coaching in the service of your brand, business, nonprofit is part art, part science, and, if done right, ought to fun and feel fulfilling, as well.
Interested in story coaching for your organization? Have comments or questions for us? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org