David Sloly Talks Business Storytelling

By November 5, 2015Storytelling

It is one week before David Sloly, founding partner of HarveyDavid, gives his speech on business storytelling at TEDxBristol’s Great Xpectations. Here is an insight to his speech.

What makes a business story powerful as a business marketing tool?

Psychology studies have shown that stories deeply influence attitudes, beliefs and behaviours. As a marketing person, you’re interested in influencing people attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours, so it makes sense that you use the power of a story to help move people towards the product of service that you offer.

Why do people find business stories so compelling?

Our brains are wired for stories; stories are what we used to make sense of the world. If you go back in history to the printing press, before you would write words down, the only way you could share information was verbally. Information would be packaged in a story and that made it easier to remember. You told the story of the guy who ate the red berry and died and that enabled the people to know not to eat the red berries.

What is the most successful business story you can create?

There are so many benefits of using a story. There’s the ‘vision story’ to help attract staff so they understand where you’re going, there’s the ‘why your company exists’ story which is powerful when you’re trying to sell your business to a third party. So I would say in answer to your question, the ‘why’ story, why does your business exist because that gives you an anchor to go back to why you’re doing what your doing, it gives the staff a way to understand why you’re doing what you’re doing and it gives prospects a reason to engage with you cause they know why you are in the room.

Have you seen a difference between businesses that use stories and those that don’t?

Every year John Lewis runs a television Christmas ad. Last year was a little boy with a penguin. At the same moment in time, John Lewis had a special offer in washer dryers. Do you think the social channels were going to light up, the coffee shops and office were going to be filled with conversations about the new John Lewis campaign if it had been about the 12% discount you could get on a washer/dryer? No. The story on the other hand resonated with us and everyone talked about it.

Can you remember what Iceland or Debenhams did for their Christmas campaign? No, but they were also trying to tell us that their products had discounts.

A story sticks with us. It is Memorable.

Is there one detailed tip you could give to start the process of creating a business story?

When you’re at home this evening or going for a walk or at the gym, think about a problem that you’ve solved. From that it’s much easier to extract the story. It then only has to sit in a very simple structure which is the three acts:

Act one: Stating the problem.
Act two: What struggle did you go though trying to solve that problem?
Act three: What did you learn by going through that Experience?


Want to know how to create your story in more detail and apply it to your content? Download How to Apply Story to Your Content for free! Equally get in touch at connect@2018.harveydavid.com to speak directly to the team about options for your business.

– David Sloly, Managing Partner at HarveyDavid. Follow HarveyDavid and David for more insights.