Story at the Center

This blog delves into the intricacies of aligning the C-suite around compelling narratives to achieve unprecedented success.

  • March 13, 2024
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Story with a Capital ’S’: The First Person Approach

Marcello Grande - Chief Strategy Officer/Executive Creative Director

Marcello Grande

Chief Strategy Officer/Executive Creative Director

I believe that most leaders understand how powerful storytelling is as a business tool. It’s pretty common knowledge, and there are tons of metrics to support how stories drive business outcomes because:

A. Humans have been telling stories since the dawn of time; and B. In the realm of business, blending design with storytelling isn't just smart; it’s transformative.
Take it from giants like Apple, Clorox, Meta, Microsoft and Nike, whose embrace of design-led innovation has not just set them apart but propelled them to outshine the S&P 500 by a whopping 219% over a decade. This isn’t about making products look pretty; it’s about crafting experiences that resonate on a deeper level.

Steve Jobs hit the nail on the head:

“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer—that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

This philosophy is at the heart of what we do at First Person, where we believe that a well-told Story is not just seen, but felt and experienced—driving not just visibility, but value. We know that the most successful companies don’t just tell any story, they tell the right one in the right way.

Have you ever paused to consider how narrative and story, though frequently treated as synonyms, are actually distinct concepts? You probably wouldn’t use marketing interchangeably with brand awareness, or machine learning with predictive models. They’re related, but definitely not the same things.

Story: A story is a detailed account of events, characters, and experiences, usually with a clear beginning, middle, and end. It can be either real or fictional and is designed to entertain, teach, or convey a message.

Narrative: A narrative is the way in which a story or a series of events is told or presented. It includes the structure, perspective, and the overarching theme or message, shaping how the audience understands and interprets the story.

Why does this distinction matter?

At First Person, we place Story (yes, with a capital “S”) at the foundation of our clients’ strategy. It’s our way of creating a central narrative that resonates across all levels of audience interaction, ensuring consistency and credibility. Leaders often realize they need this clarity and cohesion when they see our Story at the Center model and how we approach developing it.

In my next post, I’ll break down the structure of the Story at the Center model and talk more about why it matters.

The Story at the Center blog shares insights and strategies that have helped organizations—from startups to Fortune 100s—harness the power of storytelling to navigate complexities and dominate their markets.

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