PERPETUAL RADAR

The Portfolio of Dawn Dinsdale-Hunt

‘LET THE STORY DO THE WORK…’

‘…THE ART OF STORYTELLING FOR BUSINESS SUCCESS’ part five

by Esther K Choy
Published by Amacom
ISBN: 9780814438015
eBook ISBN: 9780814438022
Copyright (c) 2017 by Esther K Choy

Buy the Book


“Meet “Elliot,” a hardworking accountant who was living the American Dream in the early 1980s. Unfortunately, he developed a brain tumor in his orbitofrontal cortex, requiring surgery. The procedure seemed to have gone well, as Elliot retained what appeared to be all of his physical, linguistic, and intellectual capacities. But soon it was clear that he’d lost something post-surgery: his ability to make decisions, even about the simplest things. Merely choosing between a black or blue pen to sign a document could take him over thirty minutes. The underlying reason was that Elliot had lost the ability to connect emotion with decision-making; the surgery had cut him off from his “emotional mind,” making him “pathologically indecisive.”

Emotions are critical to our ability to decide in many situations. As Alan Weiss noted in his book Million Dollar Consulting, “Logic makes people think, emotion makes them act.” This can be especially true when we’re faced with many similar-seeming options. “Go with your gut” is valid advice in such cases, as long as your emotion is well-informed by some set of facts or experience. That’s true in business, as well.

Di Fan Liu is an onshore private banker based in Beijing. He and his firm serve ultra-rich Chinese entrepreneurs, mostly founders of publicly traded China-based companies. Widely admired, these first-generation trailblazers overcame highly restrictive economic policies in past decades to succeed, and many retain active control of their businesses. Yet most of them struggle with the issue of how best to pass their wealth on to their family’s next generations. That’s where Mr. Liu and his bank come into the picture.

In speaking with these high-value prospects, Liu and his colleagues rarely talk about what the bank has to offer, at first (I’ll explain this strategy in the last story). Instead, they tell stories. Specifically, they relate narratives about how other multi-generation family businesses worldwide have dealt successfully with ownership succession, whether in the US, EU, Latin America, or elsewhere—such as a US-based real estate family that has passed wealth down to three generations using a set of complex but fair trusts. Then they ask their prospective clients to think of a fellow Chinese entrepreneur who’d successfully passed on wealth to the next generation. The vast majority can’t think of even one. Next, Liu shares an important observation: since an economic downturn happens every seven to eight years on average, in any given century a person could lose their wealth as many as fourteen times. Finally, he asks them: “What are you doing to protect your wealth and legacy?”

You can imagine how Liu’s prospects may feel after the conversation: grateful for the new knowledge, but also vulnerable and a bit frustrated, knowing that other leaders like them have succeeded where they are struggling, and the risks are quite high. The emotions make them receptive to hearing how Liu and his bank can help them, and that’s exactly what Liu tells them now.

The idea is that your story, no matter how well told, can’t achieve its full intended effect until you embed within it an emotional quality aligned with your purpose. Remember: logic makes you think; emotion makes you act. How can you build the right emotional quality into your story to create the desired impact?

In the next section, we will explore how to better understand the emotions of our audiences.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE INSIDE AND OUT

In an ideal world, you the storyteller can take your time and convey everything you want to in whatever amount of time you need—just as the museum curator in our opening example wished. In reality, what we say, how we say it, and when we say it are constrained by a big factor: our audience’s needs and reactions.

When most people are preparing to tell their stories, they tend to think only about what they will tell and how they will tell it. Too often they neglect to think about how their audience will react to the stories, as influenced by their own needs and preferences. Remember: large ambition, hard work, and even impressive credentials are not sufficient to succeed in most business contexts today. A hallmark of an effective leader is whether she can convince others—her audiences—to follow her as related to vision, strategy, tactics, or any other area. That means leaders have to understand their audiences’ needs and constraints, to decide how to communicate with them most effectively.

In chapter 3, we will explore in depth how to connect with an audience. The framework below, however, is a start that will help you understand your audience better by breaking down what happens to them during any presentation or interaction into two levels: internal and external. This “inside and out” approach will help you prepare much more effective presentations.

INTERNAL

What happens to your audience internally, or inside, involves what they feel and what they know.

FEEL. The famed American writer and activist Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Often overlooked in business contexts, not only does emotion have a high “sticky” factor, but it also plays a critical and necessary role in decision-making. Whether we intend it or not, our audiences will experience a specific emotion—intrigued, bored, happy, unsettled, excited, apathetic, surprised, confused, or some combination—after listening to us. But note that they may not be able to articulate their feelings even if you press them to share. Still, they are definitely feeling something! This emotion can affect how long, if at all, they will remember what you’ve just told them, and what, if anything, they are willing to do about it. So wiser communicators always try to predict how their message would make audiences feel, and alter messages that may not result in the hoped-for emotion.

* Use the Guide for Story Clubs with your group to help hone your storytelling skills.”

This excerpt ends on page 9 of the hardcover edition.


FROM THE BOOK JACKET: 

It sounds so simple: Incorporate a story and people will remember your message. But when you get down to crafting one, there’s nothing easy about it.

Material for stories surrounds us. Yet few people are skilled at sharing personal anecdotes and even fewer know how to link them to professional goals. Whether you want to stand out in the interview process, add punch to a presentation, or make a compelling case for a new initiative, Let the Story Do the Work shows you how to mine your experience for simple narratives that convey who you are, what you want to achieve, and why others should care.

Packed with enlightening examples, the book explains how to find the perfect hook, structure your story–and deliver it at the right time in the right way. You’ll discover how to use stories to:

Capture attention

Engage your audience

Change minds

Inspire action

Bring facts and data to life

Clarify challenging concepts

Pitch persuasively

Fundraise effectively

And more

Never underestimate the power of a great story. Learn to leverage the elements of storytelling–and turn everyday communications into opportunities to connect, gain buy-in, and build lasting relationships.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Esther K. Choy is founder and president of Leadership Story Lab, where she coaches managers in storytelling techniques. She is currently teaching in the executive education programs at Northwestern Universitys Kellogg School of Management.

This week’s selection ‘LET THE STORY DO THE WORK: THE ART OF STORYTELLING FOR BUSINESS SUCCESS’ by Esther K Choy appears Monday thru Friday and comes to you courtesy of dearreader.com and BurlingtonPublicLibrary.ca Business Online Book Club.

Buy the Book

 

 

‘LET THE STORY DO THE WORK…’

‘…THE ART OF STORYTELLING FOR BUSINESS SUCCESS’ part four

by Esther K Choy
Published by Amacom
ISBN: 9780814438015
eBook ISBN: 9780814438022
Copyright (c) 2017 by Esther K Choy

Buy the Book


“Our museum curator cared deeply for her work and believed wholeheartedly in the organization’s mission. She had spent days preparing her speech, chosen each word carefully, and rehearsed to the point that she could practically recite it in her sleep. So, rather than cutting it down or synthesizing it, she rushed through it, delivering a fifteen-minute talk in the allotted five minutes.

Put yourself in the banker’s shoes and imagine what he might have heard. That’s right: absolutely nothing! The curator spoke so quickly that nothing stuck, other than the idea that her approach was not effective. The banker left the meeting without any motivation to make a large pledge. He probably even wondered why he had agreed to the meeting to begin with. At the time of this writing, the museum was still trying to schedule a follow-up conversation with the banker. But its leaders recognized that they had squandered a critical early opportunity.

In a world where time is scarce, attention spans minuscule, and information abundant, how do we find a way to inform and influence others most effectively? How can you use a compelling, memorable story to sway and persuade others important to your mission or goals?

Doing this right requires seeing business communication in a broader context to understand where, how, and why storytelling fits in.

“STORY” IS EVERYWHERE NOW, BUT WHAT EXACTLY IS IT?

One spring morning, while I was driving to work, a radio ad caught my attention. “Tell your business story,” it said. Since storytelling is my business, I sat up a little straighter and listened closely. The ad continued: “For standout business cards, stickers, and flyers, go to our website….” What started out sounding like a pitch for a company or service similar to mine turned out to be an ad for an online printing company using the trendy term “story” to catch people’s attention!

I shouldn’t have been surprised. I run into examples like this almost daily. Take a look at this flyer I came across at a private club in downtown Chicago around Easter a year ago (NOT SHOWN).

“Bring the Story Home,” suggests the headline. Based on that phrase, I imagined a small group of people huddling together, talking, reflecting, sharing their stories in a warm, welcoming home setting. But the flyer was merely advertising the centerpiece for an Easter-themed brunch. There’s nothing wrong with urging guests to buy a memento from a special occasion, but the use of the word “story” here was again largely misguided.

Story is not a business card or sticker. Story is not an Easter Bunny centerpiece. Nor is it any of the things below, in and of themselves:

* Monologue

* Anecdote

* Pitch (including sales and elevator pitches)

* Presentation

* Product Service Cause Assumption

* Selling conversation

* Thesis (such as a research thesis or investment thesis)

While story can—and should—be incorporated into many of these items, they do not represent story on their own. It is only when you integrate the use of story into these types of communications that you can drive amazing results.

CORE COMPONENTS OF A STORY

To recognize a true story, look for the core components common to all stories with business impact:

* Structural: A story has a beginning, middle, and end.

* Elemental: A story often has elements including a hero, challenge, journey, resolution, change, and call to action.

* Authentic: A story reveals a genuine part of the teller, which elicits emotion in the audience.

* Strategic: A story sparks an audience’s imagination, causes them to relate to the situation in the story, and motivates them to act.

By this definition, a story with business impact can be as short as one sentence. Or it can be a three-minute introduction or a thirty-minute product demonstration. Whatever the case, it will have maximum impact if it includes the components above strategically. Throughout this book, we will be revisiting these core components of effective stories. In the following sections, we focus on two elements at the heart of these components: emotion and audience.

CONSIDER YOUR STORY’S EMOTIONAL QUALITY

Story and emotion share a critical link you need to use.

What makes you decide something or take action? It’s tempting to say that facts, data, or observable evidence guide our decision-making and actions, with very little role played by emotion. In reality, emotion is not only necessary but plays a key role in our decision-making process, as highlighted by many recent writers across fields, including the Heath brothers in their excellent book Switch.

* Use the Guide for Story Clubs with your group to help hone your storytelling skills.

_________________________________________________________________

***** TABLE OF CONTENTS *****

INTRODUCTION

PART ONE: ANATOMY OF A STORY

  1. Master the Principle Elements of Storytelling

  2. The Five Basic Plots in Business Communication

PART TWO: BRINGING STORIES TO LIFE

  1. Look Who’s Listening
  2. Telling Stories with Data
  3. Making the Complex Clear
  4. Combining the Power of Story and Simple Visuals
  5. Collecting Stories from Everywhere

PART THREE: STORIES IN ACTION

  1. Using Your Own Story to Build Credibility and Connection
  2. Successful Networking Starts with a Good Story Hook
  3. Selling the Social Impact of Nonprofit Organizations with Story
    11: Case Study: The Healthcare Industry”

FROM THE BOOK JACKET: 

It sounds so simple: Incorporate a story and people will remember your message. But when you get down to crafting one, there’s nothing easy about it.

Material for stories surrounds us. Yet few people are skilled at sharing personal anecdotes and even fewer know how to link them to professional goals. Whether you want to stand out in the interview process, add punch to a presentation, or make a compelling case for a new initiative, Let the Story Do the Work shows you how to mine your experience for simple narratives that convey who you are, what you want to achieve, and why others should care.

Packed with enlightening examples, the book explains how to find the perfect hook, structure your story–and deliver it at the right time in the right way. You’ll discover how to use stories to:

Capture attention

Engage your audience

Change minds

Inspire action

Bring facts and data to life

Clarify challenging concepts

Pitch persuasively

Fundraise effectively

And more

Never underestimate the power of a great story. Learn to leverage the elements of storytelling–and turn everyday communications into opportunities to connect, gain buy-in, and build lasting relationships.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Esther K. Choy is founder and president of Leadership Story Lab, where she coaches managers in storytelling techniques. She is currently teaching in the executive education programs at Northwestern Universitys Kellogg School of Management.

This week’s selection ‘LET THE STORY DO THE WORK: THE ART OF STORYTELLING FOR BUSINESS SUCCESS’ by Esther K Choy appears Monday thru Friday and comes to you courtesy of dearreader.com and BurlingtonPublicLibrary.ca Business Online Book Club.

Buy the Book

 

 

‘LET THE STORY DO THE WORK…’

‘… THE ART OF STORYTELLING FOR BUSINESS SUCCESS’ part three

by Esther K Choy
Published by Amacom
ISBN: 9780814438015
eBook ISBN: 9780814438022
Copyright (c) 2017 by Esther K Choy

Buy the Book


“Here are several examples of mini-admissions applications from different domains.

* In 2010, an investment firm was vying to be one of the first Western players to manage assets for a mainland Chinese sovereign wealth fund. But its performance record ranked it only in the middle of eight finalists. How should this firm have approached its 15-minute final presentation in Beijing?

* In 2012, a numbers-driven executive was preparing her speech to accept a lifetime contribution award from a charity at its annual gala in Chicago. She was used to giving only dry financial presentations, not heartfelt speeches aimed at moving and inspiring audiences. How should she have prepared?

* In 2014, the owner of a fund-management firm and major sponsor of an important industry conference was told that he would have only five minutes to discuss his company’s approach at the conference’s main luncheon in Palo Alto, California. In the past, he’d always had at least an hour for such presentations. How should he have made use of those precious minutes?

All of these are examples of people going through mini-admissions applications, facing off against numerous competitors for the hard-to-get attention of important decision-makers.

You may have guessed that these were all situations in which I had the opportunity to consult and coach. In each, I showed the executives how to use the power of story to stand out and succeed: the investment firm won the mandate; the executive awardee received a standing ovation at her gala speech; the fund administrator had a long line of potential clients waiting to talk to him after his presentation.

How can you harness the power of storytelling in your own mini-admissions applications?

INSIGHT 3:

You Don’t Need to Be a Super Hero to Tell Great Stories

Though not a screenwriter myself, I’ve benefited from the wisdom of story and screenwriting guru Robert McKee, whose former students have included more than sixty Academy Award winners. “Given the choice between trivial material brilliantly told versus profound material badly told,” McKee wrote in his acclaimed book, Story, “an audience will always choose the trivial told brilliantly.”

This insight resonated with me immediately, and since I read it several years ago I’ve shared it with as many clients as possible. Most people, including me, aren’t born master storytellers or destined to be world-renowned super heroes and never will be. But that doesn’t mean we can’t tell great stories. To convince yourself further, think about the mountains of social science research showing that making even subtle changes in the way we communicate can create disproportionate impact when we attempt to persuade. For example, psychologist Robert Cialdini’s 35-year-long research on social influence demonstrates that “liking” is one of the six major levers of persuasion: We tend to like those whom we perceive as being like us, and we are more likely to say yes to them. How do we make people perceive us as being like them— By telling stories that accentuate our similarities in a strategic, authentic way.

In the following chapters, I will help you learn how to stand out in the same way I’ve helped countless others differentiate themselves: by combining the art of storytelling and the science of persuasion. With the right frameworks, tools, and practice, you can be the author of your future success.

*This excerpt skips to Part One.

PART ONE: ANATOMY OF A STORY

CHAPTER ONE

MASTER THE KEY ELEMENTS OF STORYTELLING

In spring 2016, A small art museum in Cincinnati, Ohio, was preparing for a critical meeting. The museum was about to launch a capital campaign and needed several major donors to pledge six-figure gifts to give momentum to the fundraising effort. After months of extensive research and networking, the campaign director secured an initial meeting with a well-known banker. This potential donor was of course a very busy person, and promised only fifteen minutes to the director while he was in town for business. Knowing the initial conversation could make or break the chance of a sizable gift, the campaign director asked the museum’s lead curator to join the meeting to discuss the museum’s impact on Cincinnati and its community.

Thrilled and nervous, the lead curator wanted to be as prepared for the meeting as possible. So she drafted what she wanted to say, asked colleagues for feedback, invited the content manager to edit her “speech,” then rehearsed it over and over. On the morning of the meeting, however, the banker’s executive assistant called to inform the museum that there had been a schedule change and he had only five minutes to meet with them!

Now, if you were this museum curator, what would you do? How would you change your plan to use that five minutes most effectively?”


FROM THE BOOK JACKET: 

It sounds so simple: Incorporate a story and people will remember your message. But when you get down to crafting one, there’s nothing easy about it.

Material for stories surrounds us. Yet few people are skilled at sharing personal anecdotes and even fewer know how to link them to professional goals. Whether you want to stand out in the interview process, add punch to a presentation, or make a compelling case for a new initiative, Let the Story Do the Work shows you how to mine your experience for simple narratives that convey who you are, what you want to achieve, and why others should care.

Packed with enlightening examples, the book explains how to find the perfect hook, structure your story–and deliver it at the right time in the right way. You’ll discover how to use stories to:

Capture attention

Engage your audience

Change minds

Inspire action

Bring facts and data to life

Clarify challenging concepts

Pitch persuasively

Fundraise effectively

And more

Never underestimate the power of a great story. Learn to leverage the elements of storytelling–and turn everyday communications into opportunities to connect, gain buy-in, and build lasting relationships.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Esther K. Choy is founder and president of Leadership Story Lab, where she coaches managers in storytelling techniques. She is currently teaching in the executive education programs at Northwestern Universitys Kellogg School of Management.

This week’s selection ‘LET THE STORY DO THE WORK: THE ART OF STORYTELLING FOR BUSINESS SUCCESS’ by Esther K Choy appears Monday thru Friday and comes to you courtesy of dearreader.com and BurlingtonPublicLibrary.ca Business Online Book Club.

Buy the Book

‘LET THE STORY DO THE WORK…’

‘… THE ART OF STORYTELLING FOR BUSINESS SUCCESS’ part two

by Esther K Choy
Published by Amacom
ISBN: 9780814438015
eBook ISBN: 9780814438022
Copyright (c) 2017 by Esther K Choy

Buy the Book

 


“THREE POWERFUL INSIGHTS

Taken together, the three insights in this section will help you understand the power of story and begin to see how to use it to your advantage in multiple arenas.

INSIGHT 1:

A Story Is Worth More than Strong Qualifications Alone

Eventually, I left my admissions position to get my own MBA (across town from the University of Chicago, but that’s another story!). Going through the process and meeting my diverse classmates helped me understand something that seemed obvious in retrospect: the applicants who stand out from the crowd of fellow smart, accomplished professionals are the ones who tell the most compelling stories. More specifically, a story that connects an applicant’s values, accomplishments, and future plans with the institution they are targeting will set that candidate apart in the right way. The admitted students at the University of Chicago stood out because they revealed elements of their authentic selves in a meaningful way.

I still remember the stories of several applicants we admitted to the University of Chicago. One student stood out by describing how his grandfather had bravely resisted the rule of Hitler in World War II Germany, taking great risks to protect those in danger.

The applicant’s vivid descriptions, and how he linked his grandfather’s courage to his own values, ethics, and accomplishments, placed him in our “clear admit” group.

Another candidate told us how her large family ate dinner together every night, no matter how busy everyone was. The meals were meaningful to her not only because of the family time, but also because her parents routinely engaged their children in thoughtful discussion and debate. In her essays, she talked about how, during her campus visit, watching students and faculty discuss important business, social, and ethical issues made her feel as if she was back home, sitting at the dinner table with her family. The story went a very long way to establishing her fit with the school, and we were pleased to offer her admission.

With far fewer seats available in each class than the number of applicants, we admissions officers had to be sure that we offered admission only to applicants who truly demonstrated fit. Each of us may have had different words to describe “fit,” but we all knew it when we saw it.

But competitive admissions is far from the only arena in which storytelling is the best way to integrate your values, qualifications, and aspirations.

INSIGHT 2:

We Are All in a Perpetual “Competitive Admissions” Game

Have you gone through a year-end evaluation where you had to contribute, at least in part, to assessing your own performance? Have you ever had to pitch your great idea to colleagues who weren’t sure of the value you could bring? Have you had to ask friends and neighbors to donate to your breast cancer walk and found yourself wondering why people have to be asked to give to breast cancer awareness in the first place—aren’t their mothers, sisters, aunts, and wives reason enough?

Hardly a day goes by when you aren’t trying to inspire others to join you in some effort. But we live in an increasingly commoditized world, where even the things you hold most dearly—your ideas, projects, and causes—are commodities in someone else’s eyes. The true luxury good is your audience’s attention, and everyone is clamoring for it.

At the heart of leadership lies persuasion. At the heart of persuasion lies storytelling. Whether you know it or not, you engage in both daily. Competitive admission is only one example where you have to stand out however you can. Whether you are competing for a great job, seeking funding for a start-up or nonprofit, building a professional practice, or selling goods, ideas, and services, you must stand out in a strategic, authentic way. You can even think of these efforts as “lifelong mini-admissions applications.” The parallels are striking: you have a lot of “competitors” in any such contest; your competitors may not even be people, but other companies, funding priorities, or endless perfect substitutions to what you’re offering; you’re also competing constantly for attention with other things that demand people’s attention, mostly their phone screens!”


FROM THE BOOK JACKET: 

It sounds so simple: Incorporate a story and people will remember your message. But when you get down to crafting one, there’s nothing easy about it.

Material for stories surrounds us. Yet few people are skilled at sharing personal anecdotes and even fewer know how to link them to professional goals. Whether you want to stand out in the interview process, add punch to a presentation, or make a compelling case for a new initiative, Let the Story Do the Work shows you how to mine your experience for simple narratives that convey who you are, what you want to achieve, and why others should care.

Packed with enlightening examples, the book explains how to find the perfect hook, structure your story–and deliver it at the right time in the right way. You’ll discover how to use stories to:

Capture attention

Engage your audience

Change minds

Inspire action

Bring facts and data to life

Clarify challenging concepts

Pitch persuasively

Fundraise effectively

And more

Never underestimate the power of a great story. Learn to leverage the elements of storytelling–and turn everyday communications into opportunities to connect, gain buy-in, and build lasting relationships.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Esther K. Choy is founder and president of Leadership Story Lab, where she coaches managers in storytelling techniques. She is currently teaching in the executive education programs at Northwestern Universitys Kellogg School of Management.

This week’s selection ‘LET THE STORY DO THE WORK: THE ART OF STORYTELLING FOR BUSINESS SUCCESS’ by Esther K Choy appears Monday thru Friday and comes to you courtesy of dearreader.com and BurlingtonPublicLibrary.ca Business Online Book Club.

Buy the Book

 

 

‘PERENNIAL SELLER: THE ART …’

‘…OF MAKING AND MARKETING WORK THAT LASTS’ part five

by Ryan Holiday
Published by Portfolio
ISBN: 9780143109013
eBook ISBN: 9781101992142
Copyright (c) 2017 by Ryan Holiday

Buy the Book


“PART 1

THE CREATIVE PROCESS

From the Mindset to the Making to the Magic

The more books we read, the clearer it becomes that the true function of a writer is to produce a masterpiece and that no other task is of any consequence.
—Cyril Connolly

A few years ago I got into an argument with a friend. This person—whose company I enjoy and whose work I respect—had declared the following to aspiring creatives on Twitter: “You should spend 20 percent of your time creating content and 80 percent of your time promoting it.”

This kind of thinking sounds right. Lines like that are easy to repeat at conferences and cocktail parties. It styles the speaker as part of some bold new breed of creator, not one of the old, stodgy dinosaurs. In its own way, it is inspiring too, saying: Don’t overthink it; just get out there and hustle!

There’s only one problem: It’s terrible advice.

So terrible that I know the successful entrepreneur who said it could never have gotten to where he is if he’d actually followed his own advice. He didn’t have a large audience just because he was good at marketing—his successful marketing was dependent on the fact that he had a great product. Not only was he a counterexample of that very line of thinking, I can’t say I know too many people whose success was built by spending one fifth of their time creating and four fifths loudly hawking the work they’ve just thrown together.

While there are many different types of success in this world, and prioritizing marketing and sales over the product may lead to some of them, that is not how perennial success is created. The kind of important, lasting work we are striving for is different—we’re talking about making something that doesn’t rely on hype or manipulative sales tactics. Because those methods aren’t sustainable. And they do an injustice to great work.

Even as someone who loves the challenge and creativity and rigor of marketing, I’m alarmed at how many creators gloss over creating. They fritter away their time on Twitter and Facebook—not killing time, but believing that they are building up followers to be the recipients of their unremarkable work. They have meticulously crafted brands and impeccable personae crafted through media training. They spend money on courses and read books on marketing to develop sales strategies for products they haven’t even made yet. All this churn may feel productive, but to what end?

To make something that will, eventually, disappear with the wind?

Even the best admen will admit that, over the long term, all the marketing in the world won’t matter if the product hasn’t been made right. In fact, it’s a classic “measure twice, cut once” scenario, in that the better your product is, the better your marketing will be. The worse it is, the more time you will have to spend marketing and the less effective every minute of that marketing will be. You can count on that.

Promotion is not how things are made great—only how they’re heard about. Which is why this book will not start with marketing, but with the mindset and effort that must go into the creative process—the most important part of creating a perennial seller.

The Work Is What Matters

The first step of any creator hoping for lasting success—whether for ten years or ten centuries—is to accept that hope has nothing to do with it. To be great, one must make great work, and making great work is incredibly hard. It must be our primary focus. We must set out, from the beginning, with complete and total commitment to
the idea that our best chance of success starts during the creative process.

The decisions and behaviors that bring you to creating the product—everything you do before you sit down to build whatever it is you’re building—trump any individual marketing decisions, no matter how attention-grabbing they turn out to be. And, as we’ll see later, those creative decisions can be critical marketing decisions in themselves.

Crappy products don’t survive. If you have phoned in the creative process, disrespected it, built a mediocre product, compromised, told yourself, “Hey, we’ll figure the rest out later,” then the project is likely doomed before it’s even finished. The battle will be futile—and expensive. Look at basically everything Microsoft has made in the last decade—from the Zune to Bing. That poor company seems resigned to spending billions on marketing products that inevitably lose money. Meanwhile, Microsoft Office is still a cash cow after two and a half decades. I’m editing this book with it.

It’s why all the pre-work matters so much. The conceptualization. The motivations. The product’s fit with the market. The execution. These intangible factors matter a great deal. They cannot be skipped. They can’t be bolted on later.”

This excerpt ends on page 20 of the hardcover edition.


FROM THE BOOK JACKET:

How did the movie The Shawshank Redemption fail at the box office but go on to gross more than $100 million as a cult classic?

How did The 48 Laws of Power miss the bestseller lists for more than a decade and still sell more than a million copies?

How is Iron Maiden still filling stadiums worldwide without radio or TV exposure forty years after the band was founded?

Bestselling author and marketer Ryan Holiday calls such works and artists perennial sellers. How do they endure and thrive while most books, movies, songs, video games, and pieces of art disappear quickly after initial success? How can we create and market creative works that achieve longevity?

Holiday explores this mystery by drawing on his extensive experience working with businesses and creators such as Google, American Apparel, and the author John Grisham, as well as his interviews with the minds behind some of the greatest perennial sellers of our time. His fascinating examples include:

” Rick Rubin, producer for Adele, Jay-Z, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who teaches his artists to push past short-term thinking and root their work in long-term inspiration.
” Tim Ferriss, whose books have sold millions of copies, in part because he rigorously tests every element of his work to see what generates the strongest response.
” Seinfeld, which managed to capture both the essence of the nineties and timeless themes to become a modern classic.
” Harper Lee, who transformed a muddled manuscript into To Kill a Mockingbirdwith the help of the right editor and feedback.
” Winston Churchill, Stefan Zweig, and Lady Gaga, who each learned the essential tenets of building a platform of loyal, dedicated supporters.

Holiday reveals that the key to success for many perennial sellers is that their creators dont distinguish between the making and the marketing. The products purpose and audience are in the creators mind from day one. By thinking holistically about the relationship between their audience and their work, creators of all kinds improve the chances that their offerings will stand the test of time.


AUTHOR INFO: 

Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, Im LyingThe Obstacle Is the WayEgo Is the Enemy; and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into twenty-eight languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as multi-platinum musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.

 

This week’s selection ‘PERENNIAL SELLER: THE ART OF MAKING AND MARKETING WORK THAT LASTS’ by Ryan Holiday appears Monday thru Friday and comes to you courtesy of dearreader.com and BurlingtonPublicLibrary.ca Business Online Book Club.

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