Story First, Everything Else Last
We need the willing suspension of disbelief to sell shoes?
"How is corporate storytelling different from other kinds of storytelling?"
I was stumped by the question. I have to thank the interviewer who found the bullet point in my LinkedIn profile and called me out on it. I hope his audio editor eventually eliminates 90% of the pause that followed so I sound a whole lot sharper than I guess I must be. I eventually replied with the only thing which came into my head at the time:
"It isn't," I offered, with a hopefully inaudible rising inflection. As the interviewer seemed to approve of my initial answer, I began to gain confidence in it: "yes," I thought, "corporate storytelling is just like any other kind of storytelling, right?" That is, in the sense its ultimate effectiveness is related to its ability to transport us, the audience, to some other place or time - to have us willingly suspend our disbelief, as Aristotle put it. After that, anything is possible. We'll go wherever the storyteller wants us to go.
It just has to be a great story...
Listen to the rest by clicking the play button, above. The text version of this essay can be found on Medium where it was published contemporaneously. The key image for this episode is a screen capture from the 2013 edition of the 'World of Red Bull' series of short promotional films. (credit: Red Bull)