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best practices brand stories persuasion

Objective versus impact. Don’t get ’em twisted

Every protagonist needs an objective that is to scale. I recently worked with a fabulous university communications team that ran into a very common problem with storytelling. They started their stories with wonderful protagonists (often faculty or students doing impressive work) but by the time they drafted the objectives of those stories (what the protagonist could humanly achieve) they were thinking too big for the story. They were conflating the objective with impact. Objective and impact are different. If you…

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data stories persuasion

Small Scale Stories Keep Donors Generous

My friend, Kim Ervin, turned me on to this great NPR story, Why Your Brain Wants To Help One Child In Need — But Not Millions, by Shankar Vedantam. Please give it a listen. A story about an individual victim affects us emotionally. But a million people in need speaks to our head, not our heart. “As the numbers grow,” [Psychologist Paul Slovic of the University of Oregon] explains, “we sort of lose the emotional connection to the people who…

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