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Storytelling on Steroids

Where did all this storytelling come from? Why are so many professionals suddenly so eager to spread the storytelling gospel? And who blazed the trail for an Age of Storytelling in mainstream communication?

By Gabrielle Kennedy / 05-12-2013

Storytelling is as old as mankind. But it’s become a bit of a buzzword in certain circles, like marketing agencies that urge their clients to get their story out there in order to lure customers. 

On another level designers sometimes use storytelling as a way of thinking through their design step by step.  For this they visualize a customer using a product or service hoping that that process will reveal any weaknesses in the design.

And it works the other way around: storytellers, like journalists, have started using design thinking, i.e. imagining readers and/or sources for their stories, to improve their own stories. The stories journalists write are, after all, not only a reflection of society, but also influence events, even if only on a micro level.

In Storytelling on Steroids, writer John Weich explores where “all the storytelling” comes from. From the brilliantly crafted Banksy mystery to an extremely succesful and longrunning KesselsKramer campaign to sell the Hans Brinker hotel in Amsterdam as the "worst hotel in the world". Stoytelling transcends the traditional confines of all genres, says Weich: advertising, PR, publishing, gaming, cinema, theater, ballet and musicals.

Well known modern stories are not a new invention. We're witnissing nothing more, but also nothing less than a “storytelling renaissance” fuelled by all the social media and mobile gadgets many people use on an hourly basis.

The gadgetry has even given us automated storytelling via website Storify: give me your social media and I’ll write your story, the company tells users. If storytelling were a hype, a development like this might signal its end to first adopters. But as storytelling seems to stem from an innate urge we have as humans, present day storytelling is not so much a hype as much as a renaissance.

In the end storytelling is all about how one views the world: "When you view the world through a storytelling lens, everything becomes storytelling. And it's a beautiful world to see."


Storytelling on Steroids: 10 stories that hijacked the cultural conversation is published by BIS Publishers.