I'm Dennis Loos and today I'm giving you key life advice -- whether it's financial, personal, or marketing. I'm here to help you reach your potential, so let's jump right in.
The Story of You
"Homo sapiens is a storytelling animal that thinks in stories rather than in numbers or graphs, and believes that the universe itself works like a story, replete with heroes and villains, conflicts and resolutions, climaxes and happy endings… Humans think in stories, and we try to make sense of the world by telling stories."
--- Yuval Noah Harari.
My name is Dennis Loos and I'm here to talk about the importance of storytelling to marketing.
What do Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, and Abraham Lincoln have in common? They were all storytellers. They each had an amazing ability to craft a narrative and to create a folklore-like mystic around themselves — Their brand. Storytelling is the essence of our survival — not just as a species but as company makers. In today's world, storytelling is becoming a key skill for the job market. People are searching for the narrative. Employers of the person that can create myths using their hard-earned skills and talents. To what degree? Well, LinkedIn recently published a study that showed that profiles, based on stories and not jargon had 5x more views and were more likely to get job offerings. What kind of stories? Tales of what drove you into the business, anecdotes about yourself, your accomplishments told through adjectives, rhymes, songs, and not cold hard facts. And that trend is repeated just about everywhere else.
A couple of years ago, Princeton University discovered a neurological connection between stories and the area of our brain responsible for emotion, compassion, and decision-making — simply put, when we hear an impactful or moving story we feel a link to the person telling it. Our rise as a dominant species came hand in hand with our ability to impart half-truths and align under imaginary constructs.
Don't believe me? Let's do an exercise… Listen to me, Dennis Loos, and close your eyes…
Imagine two travelers, back when iPhones weren't a thing, and folks were incredibly wary of one another. Imagine two travelers that had never met crossed paths in the middle of the forest, how did they relate and cooperate? What joined them? What made them clique together? Through their shared stories. Through narratives surrounding their religion. Through patriotic tales about their kings and queens. Through the myth that certain pieces of paper are worth a certain number of loaves of bread. Through tales of where they were born. That's how tribes, kingdoms, and communities were formed — through the power of storytelling. Today, we go to the suburbs and purchase a house, because we believe in the idea of that planned community, moreover, we are certain that all our neighbors are also enchanted by those ideals. We go and live on the coast, as hippies in Key West, because of the stories country music and Jimmy Buffet has sold us. Paris is romantic, even though it's built over a massive cemetery with millions of crushed skulls, it has a gigantic rat population, and all other tangible facts because stories have told us, time and time again that it is "the most romantic city in the world."
Why is this important?
That's why it is important to understand that YOU are not a collection of certificates and academic experiences — YOU are more than your resume. This is a pro-tip, by myself, Dennis Loos. You are a story. One that elicits empathy, one that causes your client's oxytocin levels to rise. Every advisor, every salesman, every product maker is unique and every origin story, whether we chose the job or the job chose us is sui generis. Did we get a degree or come at it through our heritage? It's critical to step back and understand our story — and with it, start the road to our myth-building. Your consumer is buying into your product's personality, your product's history, and the fable that is your company and brand. Your "Why."
The importance of why
Do you know your "why?" We have talked about the importance of storytelling and why as a brand creator it's paramount to critical your narrative — but every narrative starts with a drive, a "why." This singular purpose determines who you are. It allows you to become self-aware and understand, translate, and communicate your values, your talents, your passion, and your skills as well as expertise.
Whether you're giving out a service, selling a product, or creating a website.
German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche once stated: "he who has a why can endure any how." Understanding, taking a step back, and coming to grips with your why is an important first step. Your narrative, your brand, and your story are subject to your why. "Nothing," Thomas Oppong once said, "gives a person inner wholeness and peace like a distinct understanding of where they are going."
Your "why" is what gets you up every morning and hurls you into your job. It is your purpose and it is the reason behind your story.
Ask yourself: what makes you come alive? What are your inner strengths? Where or what do you add the greatest value? How will you measure your life?
Knowing your "why" will compel you to take on new challenges, understand your goals, and even inspire you and your clients. In The Element, Sir Ken Robinson says that our element, part of our why is the point at which natural talent and skill meet personal passion. Are you a natural-born rebel? Are you an outside-the-box thinker? Are you able to see patterns in complex subjects? Are you detail-oriented? Your why is what sets you apart and what makes your story unique.
All of this is paramount to understanding not only your value set but that of your brand and your company. It works on all levels. Whether you're trying to improve your lifestyle, you're POV on today's issues, or how you relate to others — or if you're thinking of creating a business, one that can endure and that has your personal touch and brand, Dennis Loos.
For the next few days, let's focus on the idea of branding by storytelling. Anyone can do a great logo or brand image, but few companies or individuals can create a narrative that instinctually solicits an emotional response. Why is this important? Because a great deal of your business' fortitude comes from this IT factor. This branding marker you simply can't bottle up. And that concoction is inherently tied to YOU, your DRIVE, your STORY, and what INSPIRED you to set up shop.
To your why — to your story.