Podcast: The Art of Business Storytelling – Park Howell

Park Howell | Digital Velocity Podcast

This week on the Digital Velocity Podcast, Park Howell of the Business of Story joins Erik and Tim to discuss the ABT (And, But, Therefore) agile narrative framework for successful business storytelling.

Every brand has a story to tell, but often businesses don’t know how to convey their stories successfully. Park says,

“Our brains, they’re not wired in the survival mechanism to make any sense out of numbers. It’s always about the outcome. Place that number in the context of a story. So, I think that’s where business-to-business falls flat on its face. Most of them do a really horrible job of advertising and telling stories.”

What customers care about most is how their lives will be impacted by a business and that can be communicated through great storytelling. Park explains,

“…your story’s not about what you make, but what you make happen in people’s lives. Your customers actually don’t care about your brand really. They don’t care about you. They don’t even care about your product or service or your cool code or whatever that really great thing is that you believe is gonna change the world. They only care about the outcome. What do you make happen in their life? And that is a story. It’s never features functions. It’s a little bit of benefit. It’s never numbers until you have really clearly articulated what is going to happen positively in their life if they buy into what you have to share.”

The ABT (And, But, Therefore) structure teaches businesses effective storytelling techniques. Park explains,

“The ABT works off this three forces of story, which is complete narrative. “And” is a statement of agreement. It’s like act one. We’re setting the scene and here’s what our protagonist wants in the world. The “but” is a statement of contradiction. “But” they don’t have it because of this major problem. “Therefore” is a statement of consequence. Because they don’t have this, this is the way their life is, and/or when we help them get it, this is the way life is going to look for them. This is what they really are wanting out of life. That is narrative, and the reason why it’s narrative is that “but” is a plot twist. That “but” signals the limbic brain to pay attention, something’s going on. There’s a problem. How are we going to get out of this? And of course you as the brand, or product, or service, you are there as our mentor guide to show them how to get out of it. And, but, therefore.”

Listen to this week’s podcast to learn more about how the ABT agile narrative framework can help your business storytelling stand out.

About the Guest:

Park Howell is known as The World’s Most Industrious Storyteller helping leaders of purpose-driven brands grow by as much as 600 percent. His 35 years in brand creation includes 20 years running his own ad agency Park&Co. He was named Advertising Person of the Year in 2010 by the American Advertising Federation of Metro Phoenix. The following year, his agency was recognized among the Top 10 Impact Companies in Arizona by the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.

Park is the founder of the Business of Story, a proven platform based on his 10-step Story Cycle System™ to clarify your story, amplify your impact and simplify your life. His popular weekly Business of Story podcast is ranked among the top 10 percent of the most downloaded podcasts in the world.

His book, Brand Bewitchery: How to Wield the Story Cycle System™ to Craft Spellbinding Stories for Your Brand, helps readers clarify their brand story and teaches how to tell it through three proven narrative frameworks to captivate audiences and convert customers. His new book The Narrative Gym for Business, is a short 75-page guide on how to use the ABT (And, But, Therefore) foundational narrative framework to make all of your business communications compelling.

Park consults, teaches, coaches and speaks internationally. He has guided hundreds of brands and grown thousands of leaders and their people in such organizations as Dell, The Home Depot, Hilton, Cummins, Walgreens, Banner Health and the United States Air Force.

He is a graduate of Washington State University and combines his degrees in communications and music composition and theory to help leaders excel through the stories they tell.