Storytelling versus Co-creation of Story

Storytelling versus Co-creation of Story

A friend of mine just told me about Ron Walter, Branded Entertainment Storyteller. He works for Conductor, an agency that calls itself a “brand storytelling” company:

“We believe in the power that stories have in making meaningful and lasting connections. We think of consumers as an audience, and audiences are loyal if you continue to surprise and delight them. And as we like to say, ‘Would you rather hear a sales pitch or listen to a story?’”

Part of me recoils in horror because I automatically distrust advertising. However, I have to stop and reflect about what’s so different about this and what it is I’m trying to define with “Storytelling by Design”. That phrase still doesn’t quite ring right to me, either. Gah!

Thinking about this a bit, it again comes down to purpose: I want to use storytelling as a method of engagement with a process, not so much as a “marketing approach”. Admittedly, there is a customer service angle as well; my theory is that if people feel engaged in the creation of a story with someone they enjoy interacting with, everyone will be happier and the work will kick ass.

Having said that, I’m looking for a process that emphasizes the co-creation of the story in a real-life, productive context. It’s not so much storytelling itself that is the point, though it provides a reference for creating a good experience. I’m also reminded of dungeon mastering and video game design, which are two of my influences, and the importance of being a “good host” at a dinner party.


  1. Mauricio Espinosa 18 years ago

    I think what you are trying to create is a process to design “emotional bridges”. A good story does that because it puts the minds of the story teller and the audience at the same emotional level facilitating understanding, empathy and the creation of meaning. Have you read the book “A whole new mind” written by Daniel H. Pink? He talks about 2 interesting ideas “high concept and high touch” that I think is what you are trying to accomplish with your “storytelling by design”.  Daniel H. Pink also talks about new “six senses”: Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play and Meaning that are essential to survive and thrive in the “conceptual age”. Good reading.


  2. Dave Seah 18 years ago

    Mauricio: thanks for the heads up! I’ll look into that!!!