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Listen to the Osage, the Dine and the Xicana and Learn About Storytelling.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on January 19, 2007

I just came back from a trip that included lots of conversation with “creatives” and managers at ad agencies and one of the most important themes that recurred is the importance of storytelling in marketing a product and brand. To most of us in the innovation and design space, this is familiar but to corporate folks, it’s a message that is still percolating through the ranks.

In my bird-watching trips, I’ve learned that the oral tradition of the American Indian gives Indians wonderful storytelling skills. We should all be learning from them. So if you’re in Phoenix in Feburary, you might want to head over to the Heard Museum of Native Cultures & Art and sign up for its series on Storytelling Through Poetry. It’s part of the American Indian Speaker Series.

We are moving through a vast cultural change that involves shifting from The Voice of Authority to The Voice of Understanding. Listening and understand—connecting and communicating—are the key skills of business culture today and the essence of leadership. If you don’t get this—and many CEOs being fired these days clearly don’t get this—you don’t get the 21st century of social networking, disaggregated power and co-creation.

Reader Comments


January 19, 2007 5:33 PM

I understand the marketing significance of brand and product storytelling. But, bird watching?
The Harley Davidson brand is a much better model for visualizing this type of marketing strategy. With the exception of its AMF days, Harley has been connecting with its customers for many years. The marketing folks at Harley do a great job at letting the story evolve over time. I’m figuring there are a small percentage of your readership that can relate to storytelling and bird watching (I hope), but a large population that have seen the “Dinette” commercial. This advertisement stategy is “the voice of understanding”.

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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