Chicago Cubs Corporate Storytelling Lesson

chicago cubs corporate storytelling lesson

This post originally ran on November 8, 2016. One week after the Cubs first World Series Championship since 1908:

The Chicago Cubs are World Series Champions. I’m sorry… I just can’t get over that. It’s a dream come true for me. It’s also an incredible lesson for anyone marketing a business. Storytelling is what drives passion, passion is what drives devotion. Which is why corporate storytelling is so important, and you can do it using a big budget like the Cubs or through a series of low cost videos. But we’ll get to that in a moment.

My Cubs Story

Like all Cubs fans… I have a story. My mom took me to my first game at Wrigley Field when I was six-years-old. From that day forward, the two of us made a point of attending at least one game together every season. I think we only missed it twice when I was a TV news reporter working away from Chicago.

mom-and-bIn 2013, we added a new component to our tradition. My mom and I took my daughter with us. It was a wonderful day at Wrigley, and we envisioned the three of us going to many more games together over the years.

Unfortunately, a year later we found out my my had lung cancer. A few months after that, she was gone. That game in 2013 is the last we attended together, our 36-year tradition was over too soon.

img_0299-1One of the conversations we repeatedly had over the years is what it would be like around the city when the Cubs finally made it to the World Series. We talked about how amazing it would be the see the Fall Classic at Wrigley. So… no surprise… as I attended Game 5 with my wife and as the Cubs were winning their first championship in 108-years just days later, I was thinking of my mom.

I tear-up now just thinking about it.

I’m Not the Only One

That’s my Cubs story. And if you’re wondering why so many Cubs fans were so emotional when Anthony Rizzo recorded that final out, it’s because my story is not unique. There are countless fans with similar stories that elicit that type of emotion, that type of passion. A passion passed down from one generation to the next… for over 100-years.

All of us together make for a devoted following. The Cubs feed off of our personal stories. They take them in, and turn around and give them back to us through their content. Countless videos during this playoff run have been focused on reminding every Cubs fan of their personal stories.

It’s a classic case of why you as a marketer or business leader should be sharing your stories.

How Corporate Storytelling Helps Your Business

Stories bring us together. You might not know me, you might not be a baseball fan, but now we’re connected. We’re connected because you have a special tradition you shared with your mother growing up. You’ve lost someone to cancer. You share a bond with someone through a sports team or a music group or an artist.

Chances are there is something within my story that reminds you of something within your own story. By sharing my story, it reminds you of your own, and it connects us. That’s what storytelling does, and it’s why people in PR and marketing need to push their companies to share stories.

If it relates back to the company, great… but it doesn’t have to. Feature employees and their stories. The more stories you can tell, and the more stories seen by your customers, the greater chance they’ll build a bond with your business.

Storytelling Ideas


Maybe you share the hobbies of each of your employees? How about telling people about how you came up with the idea for that latest product? Are there any special traditions the company or employees enjoy every year?

Anything is fair game. The more stories the better. The idea isn’t to inform people with important information. It’s to build bridges. Connect with them on a personal level.

The more you can connect, the more authentic the engagement, the easier it is to sell.

That’s what storytelling can help you do.

–Tony Gnau

Tony GnauTony Gnau is a three-time Emmy-winning journalist. He is also the founder and chief storytelling officer at T60 Productions. T60 has won 13 Telly Awards for its work.

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