Story Juice: How Ideas Spread and Brands Grow

I’m a big believer in the power of storytelling, which is why I was excited to have the chance to write the foreward for the ebook, Story Juice: How Ideas Spread and Brands Grow.

The book has been published by the Grapevine Group, a group we have been working with recently. Feel free to read the foreward below, and to download the full ebook at the end of this post.

You know it when you hear it.  That great story or idea.  The one that’s got “juice” – energy, excitement, possibility.  The one that, on its own, has the ability to “get up, walk around the room, shake hands with everyone” and, then travel on. The kind of story that marketers know they need to tell if they are hoping to meaningfully connect with their audiences and then inspire those audiences to “share and tell.”

Easier described than done.

Whether I’m at a party or in a board room, I am always struck by the power of a great story and its storyteller. As a senior partner at Ketchum I have spent my career honing the skills needed to shape and tell “the full story” in ways that earn attention, build trust, and spur influencers, media, clients and colleagues to take action.

But the world has changed (now that’s an understatement.) How we share information and relate to one another has shifted seismically.

As a mother, I think about the impact this will have on my six- year old. For example, when I was growing up, making friends meant one thing. It’s anyone’s guess as to what being a “friend” or “liking” someone will mean to my son.

As a marketer, I think about the impact this is having on brands and their ability to engage with their customers. It’s a bit of a perfect storm:

  • Consumers are increasingly exhausted by the daily tsunami of information.
  • There are no longer clear boundaries between personal and professional lives.
  • People don’t just multi-task – they multi-mind.  (We did some research a few years ago at Ketchum and validated this trend, which we coined “multi-minding.”  It’s that experience that happens every few minutes when you’re simultaneously thinking about what’s for dinner, who’s picking up the kids, and did your son submit his college application on time?)
  • The competition for consumers’ minds, hearts and wallets is fierce – and egged on by a sluggish economy.
  • The customer/brand relationship is a two-way contract: customers want brands to listen, be authentic and tell a full story; in return, they will engage and act.
  • And finally, the marketing landscape has shifted; the lines across disciplines have blurred and we have only scratched the surface of the coming social channels and new technologies.

Yet, two immutable truths give us hope for accelerating brand growth in the midst of this storm: humans will always seek social connections and story will always be a timeless conduit.

If brands want to compete and succeed, they will need to move the “story” front and center — not only telling it but living it. No longer is the story what comes after strategy. Brand strategy needs to start and end by considering how the brand will tell its full story. In this era of You Tube, Facebook and viral pass along, marketers who want their businesses to grow and their stories to spread have no choice but to become master storytellers.

Enter Julie Fuoti and Lisa Johnson, founders of the Grapevine Group and the authors of, “Story Juice: How Ideas Spread and Brands Grow.”

I don’t want to ruin a good story by giving it all away upfront, but here’s what I can share. When brands and businesses add a missing story ingredient the authors have dubbed — Story Juice — it’s transformative. It goes back to my not-so-random opening observation about a great story — it has “juice” (excitement, energy, movement and possibility).

At Ketchum we pride ourselves on being strong storytellers, but even the best can benefit from some added juice. Collaborating with the Grapevine Group has helped us (and others highlighted in this book) better harness the power of stories to create greater business impact for our clients’ brands.

How did I connect with the Grapevine Group? As you might imagine, there’s a good story behind that too. But for now, let’s just say our paths crossed at exactly the right time.  Hopefully, this book is crossing your path at just the right time. If brand growth is a business imperative on your 2012 “to do” list, then turn the page and start your own Story Juice journey.

Click here to download Story Juice: How Ideas Spread and Brands Grow.