Strategy and Story

As you all are planning your final campaigns I want you to do some in-depth thinking about two things: the strategies you’ll use and the stories you’ll tell to engage with people.

In terms of strategy, I’d like you to read from two books: Groundswell by Li and Bernoff and Robin Hood Marketing by Katya Andresen. In both cases these chapters are the heart of the book, the “money” chapters where the authors lay out their key ideas. Pay attention!

Goundswell, Chapter 4

Robin Hood Marketing, Intro and Chapter 1

While you are planning strategy I also want you to be thinking about stories. The Robin Hood Marketing author, Katya Andresen, has a great blog where she makes the point that information and statistics rarely make someone act. Instead individual stories are usually much more effective. So a crucial question for you all are there any stories you can tell to breath life into our campaign and provide powerful motivation for action?

First watch this video by Dan Ariely, noted academic and best-selling business author. (I shouldn’t say this– but really can’t resist– doesn’t the video make him look like a zombie?)

Then read Andresen’s blog entries about the video and stories:

The Six Things I Wish I’d Known 20 Years Ago

The one essential thing you need in your next story

Statistics: The dementors of your nonprofit’s story

Finally I think a great example of the power of story in current happenings is the Occupy Wall Street movement and the WE ARE THE 99 PERCENT tumblr blog that really helped propel the movement into main stream awareness– talk about the power of individual stories!

To bring things back around to Groundswell, here are the authors reporting on the Occupy movement in NY and SF. I think their perspective is interesting on many levels.

Please post a substantial response to any of the material above, but be sure to also make detailed and specific reference to at least one of the book chapters.


About Jonathan Taylor

Jonathan Taylor teaches photography, graphic design, and visual art in a wide-variety contexts from Burlington City Arts, to the Frog Hollow Vermont State Craft Center, to Green Mountain College and Castleton State University. In 2005 he was selected as a University of Vermont Teacher of the Year. He has been a working graphic designer since 1993, and a photographer and visual artist since 1995.
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