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Half Day Workshop: Burnout The Modern Day Professionals’ Kryptonite! CANCELED

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LEARN Together in Wauwatosa

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Blog

Why Storytelling Matters: 3 Key Takeaways from StoryFirst

A couple of weeks ago members of the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) were treated to a breakfast seminar at Café Hollander in Wauwatosa featuring StoryFirst Media. David Neelsen, Co-Founder, Executive Producer and son Michael Neelsen, Co-Founder, Director own a brand storytelling, content and video production agency founded to meet the need of brands to tell authentic and compelling stories.  They understand that consumers hold the power to choose who and what they listen to and believe that successful brands will communicate with their audiences the way they desire to be engaged — through storytelling.

Why does this matter? Because in many industries such as Architecture, Engineering and Construction, it can be difficult to tell the companies apart. The services are seemingly the same and don’t define you. Your stories do.

Here are three key takeaways from their presentation

  1. There is a science behind storytelling. In the book “The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human” by Jonathan Gottschall, the author offers the first unified theory of storytelling. He argues that stories help us navigate life’s complex social problems just as flight simulators prepare pilots for difficult situations. Drawing on the latest research in neuroscience, psychology, and evolutionary biology, Gottschall tells us what it means to be a storytelling animal and explains how stories can change the world for the better. We know we are master shapers of story and that storytelling makes us human. The Storytelling Animal reveals how stories shape us.

  2. There is a method to building a story. A story needs to take you somewhere, creating a space and a place with society and people. It sparks attention and empathy.  The essential components:

    • Beginning: Kelly was born and raised in Milwaukee and loved to write.

    • First Action: She MOVED to Chicago to go to DePaul and then and started a career in Healthcare Marketing.

    • Obstacle: She moved back home to Milwaukee BUT didn’t have a job lined up.

    • Defining Action: Kelly received an email from SHSMD highlighting a Senior Marketing Strategist opportunity at Kahler Slater and applied for the role, referencing blog samples from her MsCareerGirl column.

    • Resolution: She interviewed for the role and was offered the position.

  • Satisfaction: Kelly joined Kahler Slater, authoring proposals and Thought Leadership blogs on behalf of her firm (and SMPS.)

  1. Apply storytelling in video. In this example David and Michael shared from their client, JPCullen, we learn the story of an incident that occurred during the historic restoration of Milwaukee’s City Hall. By highlighting an unfortunate problem, JPCullen disarms their audience and cultivates trust. They are seen as authentic partners who collaborate with their customers to arrive at a meaningful solution.

StoryFirst stresses the importance of “growing a story” and helps their clients identify:

  • Who is your audience?

  • Where do they hurt?

  • What do I want them to do?

Bonus: In the Q&A portion of the presentation I raised the question: “What happens when there are multiple stakeholders in the room with varying pain points? What if they each have different things that make them “hurt”? Their answer: Focus on the primary or the biggest issue first and remember, it’s not about what you have to say but what your audience needs to know.

This program was offered in both Milwaukee and Madison. Want to be in the loop next time? Follow SMPS Wisconsin on Facebook to learn more about AEC marketing and our upcoming programs.

Written by Kelly Christiansen, Associate, EDAC, Sr. Marketing Strategist, Kahler Slater, SMPS Communications Committee

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