S01E01 – Finding Your Story To Tell

Talking About Marketing Podcast by Steve Davis and David Olney

Revisiting "storytelling" for marketers

In this first episode of Talking About Marketing, we cover storytelling by doing a dive into some academic literature to see if we can give you some handy starting points for refreshing your content marketing.

For our first segment, however, we go a little philosophical as Steve shares some insights from the Stoics to help us deal with negativity in our organisation.

There's a timely topic in the mailbag segment, with Steve sharing a question about .au domains; should we or shouldn't we bother.

And for a dose of perspicacity (the sharpening of our minds), David splashes on some Old Spice to see if their groundbreaking campaigns from 10 years ago would smell as sweet today.

We hope you find this helpful.

Episode show notes with timecodes

01:38  Person  This segment focusses on you, the person, because we believe business is personal.

Learning from the Stoics

Steve's been in front of more than 8000 business owners, and in workshops, mentoring, and ongoing consultancy work, he's been there as they've dealt with catastrophes, accidents, and toxic humans.

He's had to deal with some toxic humans too, who have stolen money from him or have tried to "poison the well", as they say, to spread rumours so they can try to break into relationships he'd forged.

One thing he's noticed, is that it this interference can take our attention away from where we're going and it can undermine the trust and support from the good people around us.

It's hard enough to keep on showing up everyday without these dastardly headwinds.

So, in this segment, he shares a short snippet from a series of talks about stoicism by philosopher, Professor Willam B Irvine, that's actually had a huge and immediate effect on him when it comes to cutting off the dead weight of the bad players he's encountered.

In the selected quote, Williams suggests we frame the bad experiences or problems or peoples we encounter as "Stoic Tests". You simply imagine the Stoic gods are testing us to see how we can respond under pressure.

So, if you're currently simmering in anger over someone's deliberate deeds or some unfortunate events that are badly impacting you and your business, Professor Irvine suggests we view this as if the ancient stoic gods up in the sky have sent you a test.

Steve knows this sounds far-fetched, but he explains how effective it's been for him thus far.

10:09  Principles  This segment focusses principles you can apply in your business today.

Unlocking storytelling for content marketing

David starts the ball rolling by explaining how his thinking has been informed by his research on the topic, which included reading something like 40 sources written over about a 20 year period on the different way storytelling has been used in hollywood in marketing in.

The common theme running through this topic is the reference to Joseph Campbell's idea of the hero's journey, which is a big and complicated set of steps that the ideal story should follow.

But the critical thing at the centre of Campbell and that nearly everyone focuses on in their own writing is that someone tries to achieve something and they're blocked and they're not blocked in a small way. They're blocked to the point we're actually continuing is really difficult.

Something is bigger and more complicated than they've ever experienced and they genuinely don't know what to do about it. So not only do they have to learn a new skill and try and do new things they then have to take the risk of confronting something that has already beaten them once.

Almost every story that sticks in humans' heads has some sort of struggle like this, otherwise we'd forget it.

In the case of the Superman example the really obvious and powerful one is the kryptonite but the secondary struggle is Superman letting Lois Lane know how he feels about her and us wondering if she going to work out who Superman is.

For our stories to succeed, we need to identify the struggles we've faced, often across different levels. These can include:

  • A struggle with self
  • A struggle with other people
  • A struggle to be given an opportunity
  • A struggle to get resources
  • Or a combination of all of them

Sadly, though, very few experts cover the importance of "struggle" in storytelling, which is why David wrote a paper about the topic, and why Steve spoke about Storytelling structures for tourism marketing earlier this year.

Listen to the full discussion for further explanation and some actionable points to apply in your business.

27:47  Problems  This segment answers questions we've received from clients or listeners.

Should I register a .au domain?

Ivy from Golden North sent me an email, which involved her forwarding one she'd received with the subject line: Dot AU Domain Name Deadline Looming for Australian Businesses.

I've been swamped by lots of people asking me whether they should register this new Top Level domain name and my answer tends to be, yes.

You can hear my explanation in the episode or read it here: 3 Alarming Emails Small Business Website Owners Get – And What To Do About Them.

The short version is that Australians have until 20 September 2022 to get priority allocation of a dot au direct domain name if they currently have the matching dot com dot au domain name.

In short, if you have a .com.au, the simple advice is to claim your .au version and just redirect it to .com.au for now.

Should you ever need to lead with the .au you will have it, and not have to worry about somebody else taking it off the table!

32:20  Perspicacity  This segment is designed to sharpen our thinking by reflecting on a case stude from the past.

Does Old Spice still smell nice (or did it ever smell nice?)

For this segment, we rolled out the famous Old Spice campaign from 10 years ago to review its success back then and ponder whether such a ploy would work today.

You'll have to listen to the episode to get our verdict.

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