Those who tell the stories rule the world.
- Hopi American Indian proverb (also attributed to Plato)
Stories can be powerful. They can be life-altering or world-changing. When we use them in social marketing, stories can serve many different roles:
- Grab people's attention to get them to focus on our issues
- Make abstract concepts more concrete and relevant
- Shape people's understanding and interpretation of issues and events
- Provide vicarious experiences that prepare individuals for real-world situations
- Increase empathy for others
- Persuade people of the importance or benefits of taking action
- Strengthen relationships between individuals or across groups
With the centrality of story to what we as social marketers do, I was excited to learn of the Reinvention Summit
- a "virtual summit on the future of storytelling" put together by Get Storied
. This two-week event will focus on the power of narrative to change the world. Between November 11-22, the summit will offer online webinars, interviews and panel discussions with over 30 experts on various aspects of storytelling.
The social change-related sessions
I am most excited about are:
- Andy Goodman and Lily McCombs - Social Movements as Participatory Storytelling
- Pip Coburn - Expanding the Threshold for Change: Narrative, Technology and Innovation
- John Elkington and John Marshall Roberts - Sustainability and Global Behavior Change
- Richard Geer - It Takes a Village to Tell the Story: Reinvention in the Community Sphere
- Nancy Duarte - That Resonates with Me! How to Change the World One Presentation at a Time
- Angela Maiers - Story Power: Reclaiming the Place of Story in Education and Life
- Katya Andresen - Storytelling Your Cause: What Donors Want and Need to Know About Your Story
And in the transmedia realm:
- Lance Weiler - Storytelling R&D: How to Build a Transmedia StoryWorld
- Gunther Sonnenfeld - Dynamic Publishing, Transmedia and the Construct of Good
Best of all? The basic pass costs only $11.11 (this price ends Wed., November 10th at 8 pm ET). If you miss that deadline or want more benefits, the conference organizers gave me a coupon to pass along for $25 off an Activators or Explorers Pass (Code: REINVENTION). [By the way, I bought my pass and tweeted about the event long before the organizers got in touch with me about it because I think it's such a great opportunity to learn!]
Even if you don't "attend" the summit, you might be interested in downloading a free e-book by Michael Margolis, the president of Get Storied. Believe Me: a storytelling manifesto for change-makers and innovators
offers principles for how to use storytelling to create change in your organization or community.
Let's get better at telling our stories! We've got some good ones.
Photo: Ruth Lozano