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True Story: How to Combine Story and Action to Transform Your Business Hardcover – July 16, 2013
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An original take on using story to convey your brand promises, True Story will provide you with the answer.” 800 CEO READ
ADVANCE PRAISE for True Story:
Brad Jakeman, President, Global Beverages Group, PepsiCo, Inc.
Gone are the days when marketers can simply tell people what a brand stands for. More than ever, consumers demand authenticity and transparency. True Story is an insightful and compelling review of what it takes to build brands and businesses today.”
Roo Rogers, Partner, Fuse Project; coauthor, What’s Mine Is Yours
Who better to write about the power of story than Ty Montague? As relevant to CEOs as it is to CMOs, True Story leads the reader step by step through the process of combining product and narrative into one meaningful and unforgettable consumer experience.”
Danielle Tiedt, CMO, YouTube
In an age where just communicating your brand isn’t enough, Ty Montague has given businesses a way to think about brand building from the bottom up. True Story outlines a four-step process to discover your company’s unique story and then explains how to fold that story into every action you take. An essential guide for any company looking to grow its business.”
Peter Sachse, Chief Stores Officer, Macy’s
The power of storydoing’ shouldn’t be underestimated. If you consistently define your brand through action, your brand will take vivid shape in every consumer’s mind. Ty Montague has done a great job creating a path that any company can use to reach its goals.”
David Webster, General Manager, Marketing Strategy, Microsoft Corporation
Unlike so many books that simply collect case studies that you can’t apply to your own situation, Ty Montague’s book provides a blueprint and a road map for putting these insights into action. The power to uncover your own brand narrativeand live itis in your hands right now.”
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1. "Who are you?": Are you reliable, dependable, ethical, etc.?
2. "What do you do?": Can you solve my specific problem?
And most importantly,
3. "Why should I care?": What makes you different? Better?
Most marketers are very adept when answering the first two but frequently stumble when attempting to answer the third because they lack the storyteller's skills and thus cannot articulate what Ty Montague characterizes as "the four truths "of a metastory: the truth about the participants (your prospective customers), the truth about the protagonist (your company), the truth about the stage (the world your company shares with its customers), and the truth about the quest ("the aspirational mission of your company, brand, or product beyond making money...the higher ideal or human goal you have as a business"). These four truths serve as the pillars, the foundation of a metastory: not of what you have been or are now but what your company wants to become as a business. The ultimate objective is to achieve metacognition, a high level of "knowing about knowing."
I first encountered the term in graduate school when exploring several of Aristotle's works in which he shares his thoughts about metacognition, incubation, idea generation and association, creative problem solving, He was among the first to recognize the significance of intuition and self-actualization within the creative process. I was reminded of that extended encounter with Aristotle's insights as I worked my way through Montague's explanation of "how to combine story and action to transform your business." It is at least as important for your people to gain and enrich metacognition as it is for your customers to do so.
There was a time, for example, when everyone who then worked for JCPenney knew about James Cash Penney and his first store, "The Golden Rule," in Kemmerer, Wyoming. There was also a time when everyone who worked for McDonald's knew about Ray Kroc's first store in Des Plaines, Illinois. He cleaned all its windows inside and out each day and patrolled the immediate area to pick up any litter. The same can be said of Dave Thomas and Wendy's. Yes, these are folk tales but they also have great power when affirming values of importance to employees as well as those whom they are privileged to serve.
These are among the dozens of passages of special interest and value to me:
o Metastory: A Definition, and, Why Does Metastory Matter in Business? (8-11)
o The Strange Tale of Hummer (25-29)
o The Story of De Beers and the Right-Hand Ring (46-50)
o The Four Truths and Metastory (50-56)
o Researching the Participants in Your Story (63-65)
o Looking at the Problem Through the Eyes of Participants 67-69)
o News Corporation Enters the Education Business (79-82)
o Big Challenges (84-87)
"Five Things You Need to Do to Discover the Truth About Your [fill in blank]"
o Participants (74-76)
o Protagonist (103-108)
o Stage (126-130)
o Quest (154-159)
o Your Metastory and Create Your Action Map (192-194)
o Putting the "Doing" in Storydoing: Creating Your Action Map (167-169)
o Grind Action Principles (181-183)
o Storydoing and Leadership (202-204)
o Apply the Lessons to Your Business (205-208)
Montague correctly stresses the importance of both a compelling narrative and anchoring it in human experience with deeds as well as words. That's what Thomas Edison had in mind when insisting that "vision without execution is hallucination." When reviewing the Key Concepts to Take Away from Reading This Book, Montague observes, "Storydoing, not storytelling, is the most efficient way to tell your company's story today -- compelling stories are what people like to talk about to each other. A company that knows its own metastory and can translate it to action will thrive. Companies that don't will struggle." It is imperative to keep in mind that sharing a compelling and truthful metastory without bringing it to life with action is insufficient. Worse yet, sharing a compelling but dishonest metastory reveals or expedites organizational metastasis, especially now in the Age of Connected Consumers.
So, how do you go about "storydoing" rather than just "storytelling"? Red Bull is an example of a company that replaces storytelling (traditional advertising) with storydoing, demonstrating the Red Bull ethos by staging and sponsoring a range of sporting and high-adrenaline events. According to the author, there are four key truths that need to be explored and understood to determine your
organisation's metastory which you then need to live out by storydoing:
* The truth about the participants: what their stories are, and how the organisation's story interacts with theirs
* The truth about the protagonist: the organisation's current strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and challenges
* The truth about the stage: the broader economic, cultural, technological and competitive context in which the organisation operates
* The truth about the quest: the aspirational mission of your organisation, apart from making money
Is this book useful for all organisations, or is it just useful for a few that follow a particular philosophy? It seems to me that plenty of organisations get by without telling or living out an interesting or coherent story. Nonetheless, in a world in which sustainable competitive advantage is increasingly elusive, the path advocated by the author seems to offer genuine opportunities.
Branding is something that sounds awfully strange and it's very difficult to do well. By imagining that you're writing a story where you need a plot line and protagonists, branding can be done easier for some people.
So in conclusion, this is not a revolutionary way of thinking but a nice different take on how to do branding.
Would I recommend it? Sure, but not on the pretense that it's sold on.