People are drawn to stories. It’s woven into the human genome. They are how we understand ourselves and others. It is this thought that, in 1997, prompted poet and bestselling novelist George Dawes Green to found The Moth, a platform dedicated to storytelling in New York.
Since its launch, The Moth has given artists and storytellers the opportunity to present their unique stories — live and without notes — to crowds worldwide. At the Digiday Retail Summit in Chicago this week, Green spoke to a room full of retailers about what he’s learned about storytelling — and how they can tell their own captivating stories to their audiences.
The essence of storytelling, Green said, lies in the vulnerability of the teller, or the ability to show weakness and failure — something that most brands tend to shy away. “A great story always involves a certain amount of confession,” he said. “It’s so important to be able to show those losses.”
Green pointed out that, by discussing previous defeats — adding a dash of humanity and humility to their personal stories — Abraham Lincoln, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton were able to catapult themselves to greater political heights.
Defeat works in business narratives too. Apple, for example, is inextricably tied up in the story of Steve Jobs, who endured massive setbacks in his career. The Bill Gates story, on the other hand, is one of “non-stop boring success,” said Green. “The fact that Steve Jobs had failed, makes his story so much more compelling.”
Here’s a snippet of Green’s talk.
More in Marketing
With three Grand Prix races in the U.S. this year – Miami this past May, Austin in October and Las Vegas in November – the interest from U.S. marketers in Formula One has increased this year, according to agency executives, who say they expect that growth to continue next year.
Digiday+ Research deep dive: Brands, retailers use Facebook less, even as it drives revenues, branding
A Digiday+ Research survey found that brands and retailers report using Facebook less over the last few years, all while the platform’s value to their revenues and brands has increased.
Marketing Briefing: Marketers ‘optimistic’ after WGA strike’s potential resolution, but aren’t expecting ad dollars will return just yet
The timeline for a return to business as usual – whatever that may mean now – is yet to be determined.