Disney is a master storyteller. Although many of their hits are other people’s stories, they have the formula down to a tee: heroes and villains, a happy ending, and a beginning that sets up the back story.
These first ten minutes, in themselves, are sometimes horrific. They are also sometimes wonderfully cinematic, such as Up (I bet you cried like me when you first saw that).
They set the scene. They pull you in and keep you watching, whether you’re three years old or a grandparent.
And, while you have every reason to be cynical about their productisation angle, they are great at characterisation. No more so when they humanise objects – think of dancing brooms in Fantasia or talking cups and saucers in Beauty & The Beast. They bring things to life.
In business, we’ll scoff at this. We’re far too serious and important. People want facts and data, right, not a story or characters?
So, call me Mr. Naive, but when it comes to the ‘important business’ of something like economics and share forecasting ‘data’, I always feel like I’m the stupid one for ‘missing something’. Because when things veer off course (and they usually do), they just change the forecast. What’s that if it’s not a story? And don’t get me started on the self-fulling prophecies of market bottoms and tops and bears and bulls.
People make decisions, whether it’s business or not, and emotion plays its part. We have the need to be sold to.
Stories have driven the human race since the dawn of time, from cave paintings to fables to Tik-Tok clips. We like consuming stories, and we enjoy sharing stories.
Just take a look at your LinkedIn content feed and how it’s changed – for better or worse. People sharing more than ever, but are they stories? Do they have a beginning, middle and end?
You don’t need a team of animators to create a 90-minute film, and obviously, you can’t go all-out Disney when you promote your business narrative, especially if you work in a dull market. But why not add something a little more human into your stories? Some words and images that are a little bit more emotive and engaging?
And remember, Disney has their audience; it’s not for everyone.
But then again, neither are you.