CX GRAND CRU

SEASONED FLAVOURS BY ADDING OFF-BEAT IDEAS DURING BREWING

LONG READ

CX, JAWS AND SPACE


HOW SIMPLICITY IS REALLY DIFFICULT

So this is something from the Business Storytelling Masterclass. It’s focused on 1 of the 3 core foundational elements of storytelling: Simplicity. Simply put: before you can tell any story, anything about your programme or initiative, or present what your team is doing, you need to strip it down. To the bare essentials.

This is hard. There is a good reason the number one question I get asked is ‘How do I make it work in the organisation?’ Turning all your expertise, experience, plans and ambitions to tangible success is difficult. All too often I see clever people making clever plans based on clever insights… and yet, the organisation doesn’t listen.

And this isn’t confined to a specific topic. Whether you are in CX trying to make a mark with your workshops, or in Digitalisation or Data trying to explain what it actually is you do, or in NPS defending some choices against an ignorant critic that half-baked repeats the first hit in Google.

Frustrating, right? Unfair even. But… maybe it’s just that your story isn’t convincing. Or interesting. Or too complex?

Being able to say in just a few words what you do is incredibly hard. Even more so in business as the usual corporate jargon makes it so easy for us to hide behind vague wordings. And you end up describing yourself let’s say as: “we excel at delivering high value connections”. Only to find that it’s just completely and utterly interchangeable with the next team, or worse, the Starbucks around the corner. On top of that, we’ve never learned narrative skills. At best we are literally describing what we do. And that’s never a good idea. It makes it dull and again does not position you any different than the next team that has the same task, right?

For cues we can take lessons from Hollywood. They excel at it. They are masters of ‘taglines’. Just looking at film posters you can spot beauties like ‘From the moment they met it was murder’ (from Double Indemnity, 1944) and “On every street in every city in this country, there is a nobody who dreams of being a somebody” (from Taxi Driver, 1976). Notice the evocative or sensory language they’re using. By any means it’s not just a functional description. Using words that conjure up images and feelings help the tagline come to life.

The most famous tagline of all, rated number one by all film buffs, is the tagline created for the movie Alien (1979): “In space, no one can hear you scream”. This really pushes all the buttons of your imagination. Immediately you are intrigued what will happen. You imagine the solitude of being alone in space. You feel queasy with anxiety as apparently something is going to make you scream.

Most interesting however is to note that this tagline is meant for the poster. For an external audience. But for this film, we also know what the tagline was for the internal audience. The audience that needed to be convinced on the idea and budget to make it. The internal tagline for Alien was: “Jaws, in space.” And again this is just a terrific tagline. In just 3 words the audience knows what it will get.

Of course it completely depends on the audience’s prior knowledge. They would have to know the movie ‘Jaws’. They would have to know its concept of a big monster lurking out there and man’s feeble, almost impossible attempts to slay it. They would have to be able to imagine that storyline in a science-fiction narrative. And, most important, they would have to know ‘Jaws’ was a blockbuster success and weigh their chances on repeating that success.

Obviously they could do all this. They were all movie executives. It’s their job! This internal tagline was completely aimed at the audience, their knowledge, and their interests. (I’ll share more on ‘Playing the Audience’ another time).

Just 3 words, and it captured their imagination, giving them a clear idea where you’re headed, and what they will get out of it.

So here’s your thing to do. How simple, elegant, unique, thought triggering can you be? Try it. Create a tagline. Say it out loud. If it helps, imagine a really cool filmposter of your team. What would the tagline on it be that draws audiences in?

Let me know, I’m curious.

LONG READ

CX, JAWS AND SPACE


HOW SIMPLICITY IS REALLY DIFFICULT

So this is something from the Business Storytelling Masterclass. It’s focused on 1 of the 3 core foundational elements of storytelling: Simplicity. Simply put: before you can tell any story, anything about your programme or initiative, or present what your team is doing, you need to strip it down. To the bare essentials.

This is hard. There is a good reason the number one question I get asked is ‘How do I make it work in the organisation?’ Turning all your expertise, experience, plans and ambitions to tangible success is difficult. All too often I see clever people making clever plans based on clever insights… and yet, the organisation doesn’t listen.

And this isn’t confined to a specific topic. Whether you are in CX trying to make a mark with your workshops, or in Digitalisation or Data trying to explain what it actually is you do, or in NPS defending some choices against an ignorant critic that half-baked repeats the first hit in Google.

Frustrating, right? Unfair even. But… maybe it’s just that your story isn’t convincing. Or interesting. Or too complex?

Being able to say in just a few words what you do is incredibly hard. Even more so in business as the usual corporate jargon makes it so easy for us to hide behind vague wordings. And you end up describing yourself let’s say as: “we excell at delivering high value connections”. Only to find that it’s just completely and utterly interchangeable with the next team, or worse, the Starbuck around the corner. On top of that, we’ve never learned narrative skills. At best we are literally describing what we do. And that’s never a good idea. It makes it dull and again does not position you any different than the next team that has the same task, right?

For cues we can take lessons from Hollywood. They excel at it. They are masters of ‘taglines’. Just looking at film posters you can spot beauties like ‘From the moment they met it was murder’ (from Double Indemnity, 1944) and “On every street in every city in this country, there is a nobody who dreams of being a somebody” (from Taxi Driver, 1976). Notice the evocative or sensory language they’re using. By any means it’s not just a functional description. Using words that conjure up images and feelings help the tagline come to life.

The most famous tagline of all, rated number one by all film buffs, is the tagline created for the movie Alien (1979): “In space, no one can hear you scream”. This really pushes all the buttons of your imagination. Immediately you are intrigued what will happen. You imagine the solitude of being alone in space. You feel queasy with anxiety as apparently something is going to make you scream.

Most interesting however is to note that this tagline is meant for the poster. For an external audience. But for this film, we also know what the tagline was for the internal audience. The audience that needed to be convinced on the idea and budget to make it. The internal tagline for Alien was: “Jaws, in space.” And again this is just a terrific tagline. In just 3 words the audience knows what it will get.

Of course it completely depends on the audience’s prior knowledge. They would have to know the movie ‘Jaws’. They would have to know its concept of a big monster lurking out there and man’s feeble, almost impossible attempts to slay it. They would have to be able to imagine that storyline in a science-fiction narrative. And, most important, they would have to know ‘Jaws’ was a blockbuster success and weigh their chances on repeating that success.

Obviously they could do all this. They were all movie executives. It’s their job! This internal tagline was completely aimed at the audience, their knowledge, and their interests. (I’ll share more on ‘Playing the Audience’ another time).

Just 3 words, and it captured their imagination, giving them a clear idea where you’re headed, and what they will get out of it.

So here’s your thing to do. How simple, elegant, unique, thought triggering can you be? Try it. Create a tagline. Say it out loud. If it helps, imagine a really cool filmposter of your team. What would the tagline on it be that draws audiences in?

Let me know, I’m curious.