Storytelling Principles: Premise (#1)

By Wilmar Alex Tax, 15 September 2020

Storytelling has been around for a long time. It’s been overly hyped, booed off stage and recently it seems to have picked up traction again. Some - like my honourable fellow strategist Frank van de Koppel - say this may even be called the Netflix effect as in Netflix has propelled storytelling into everyday life like no other. At HPB we’ve always respected storytelling as a way to emotionally engage and connect with audiences, culture, people.

The foundation of the Art of Storytelling - as we’d like to call it - are its Principles.

Personally I am a great admirer of the way Robert McKee - a creative writing instructor and former professor at the University of Southern California - has written about storytelling in his book Story.

Here’s my take on his principles and their relevance in the context of today’s Earned First Era.

Over time, I will try and touch on all Story principles McKee’s calls out, starting with…

PREMISE (Storytelling Principle #1)

“The idea that inspires the writer to create the story”

or my translation into marketing storytelling

“The idea that inspires the founder/inventor to (re)create the brand, new product, service, company”.

Some call it the “What if” question. Let me bring it to life by giving you some examples.

What if…?

...we could make flying cars?
Check People for the first successfully tested flying car by SkyDrive Inc., (a Japanese company) that develops urban air mobility solutions, at a Toyota Test Field in Japan.

...we could do something that we’ve never done and protect people from Covid-19?
Check Wavin for a case on using their plastic and product lines meant for the production of pipes and turning it into a production line to make Face Shields, protecting dentists, hairdressers, physiotherapists, installation and maintenance departments, etc.

...we could break through a taboo such as talk about real women stories concerning their womb?
Check #wombstories powered by Libresse.

...we could create a great tasting spirits & liquor portfolio without the alcohol?
Check Lyre’s for their great story on this topic.

What is your premise? Your “What if...?” And how can it help you sharpen your brand, company, and help it give more meaning? Or how can it trigger you to create a new story, a new angle or even a new product or service that truly adds value?

We wish you the attention that you earn.