How The Fortune 500 Uses Storytelling

How The Fortune 500 Uses Corporate Storytelling

Microsoft Kinect for XBOX 360
Photo: Mike Loomis

Ever hear the old adage… if you want to do something, study those who do it well. That certainly goes for marketing, and without question the best and brightest in marketing value storytelling. That’s why it’s so important to bring a storyteller into your business.

Whether you hire someone to be a full-time storyteller at the company, or bring in someone from outside the business to occasionally help. A storyteller can communicate with customers and prospects in a way that doesn’t feel like a sales pitch.

Microsoft features people behind the products

That’s what Microsoft does. The company’s Chief Storyteller (glad to know I’m not the only one with that job title), Steve Clayton, was recently featured at He talked about corporate storytelling and the four P’s… people, places, process, and products… and trying to incorporate two into each story.

So… instead of creating a story about the new Microsoft Kinect that was all about the video game device and its latest features, he and his team featured the man who designed the hardware and took the audience into the model shop where products are created and tested.

I love stories like that… behind-the-scenes… taking us to places we can’t normally go… introducing us to the people who put their passion into their jobs. You walk away from a story like that with a new appreciation for the product.

That’s why storytelling is so effective. You can highlight a product’s features all day long. You can list all the services your company offers. None of that connects consumers to the company. Stories like the one from Microsoft help build that connection.

Disney lets us in on how the magic happens

It reminds me of another company… Disney. I know, right? Who knows more about storytelling than Disney, and one video I recently saw really stands out.

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Disney’s World of Color has become a must-see event at Disney California Adventure. It’s a light show like no other that includes illuminating Mickey Mouse ears worn by audience members.

It would be easy to sit back, flip on the HD cameras, and let the show speak for itself. Disney goes another direction. Its team tells the story of how the ears work and how they transform the show.

That’s interesting because what the video does is transform the way we see the show. We sit back in wonder about what our eyes are seeing and, now that we know the story behind it, we wonder at how it all works.

Unleash the corporate storytelling behind your business

Here’s what you need to know about each of these examples. They might come from two of our nation’s most recognizable companies, but even small businesses have interesting stories to tell.

That’s why every company needs a storyteller. It’s easy to walk around your business with blinders on. You see what you do everyday and it doesn’t seem special. A storyteller can look at it with a fresh set of eyes. They can take what you do everyday and turn it into a series of stories that will help your customers identify with you.

Storytellers can help you connect with your customers. Connecting with customers will help you sell your products and services.

–Tony Gnau

Tony Gnau is a three-time Emmy-winning journalist. He is also the founder and chief storytelling officer at T60 Productions. T60 has won 12 Telly Awards for its work over the last eight years.