Jonah Sachs: Winning The Story Wars
An excellent book that should be on every marketer’s reading list. Sachs, co-founder and CEO of Free Range Studios, draws a line from ancient oral traditions of storytelling to today’s global social-media-powered conversation, creating what he dubs the digitoral era. Drawing on mythology, psychology, advertising savvy, and a strong sense of purpose, Sachs shares his insights and tools for creating iconic brands in a world of me-too and noise.
Gerald Zaltman & Lindsay Zaltman: Marketing Metaphoria
A fascinating deep dive into the minds of consumers (in other words, people) and an exploration of one of my favorite topics: metaphors. Messrs Zaltman identify seven so-called primary deep metaphors that influence how people view the world and tells us how to use them to create better products, messages, campaigns, customer experiences. At the end of this book, you’ll know yourself better, too.
Margaret Mark & Carol S. Pearson: The Hero And The Outlaw
The seminal work on archetypal psychology as a basis for meaningful marketing. Most advertising and branding dollars are wasted because the businesses spending them fail to apply deep human insights and constructs to their marketing efforts. Pearson and Mark tell us how to build brands that evoke real meaning.
Kendall Haven: Story Proof
Haven has collected a staggering amount of evidence and expert opinion supporting the power of story. Drawing on neural biology, cognitive science, knowledge management, information theory, and a range of other fields, he tackles the difficult questions of what exactly makes a story and why stories so affect us. Have trouble convincing a CEO of the validity of all this story stuff? Wield this book like so much garlic and holy water.
Jim Signorelli: StoryBranding
A brands-from-the-inside-out perspective. Signorelli is an advertising veteran who, not surprisingly, discovered early on that stories sell. Inspired by story gurus like Robert McKee and Kendall Haven, Signorelli convincingly argues for marketing that shows rather than tells, and shares his method for developing a story brand, including the use of archetypes, themes and plots, multi-level obstacles, and how to write a StoryBrief.
Carolyn Handler Miller: Digital Storytelling
If you want to take the building blocks of storytelling (character, inciting incident, plot, conflict, etc.) into the digital realm, you can’t do better than with this absorbing and educational book. Handler Miller covers transmedia storytelling, mobile entertainment, user-generated content, and much more, and she peppers every section with case studies.
Brian Boyd: On The Origin of Stories
Fair warning: this book is for hardcore story lovers. Boyd, a professor of English, traces the origins of art and storytelling back through the evolution of mankind, delving into why, as a species, we tell stories. It’s critical theory, but written in an engaging and accessible way. A wonderful complement to Kendall Haven’s book, Story Proof.
Stephen Denning, et.al.: Storytelling in Organizations
Denning, a former World Bank executive, has become the principal voice for leadership communication through storytelling. Here he teams up with other expert communicators to make a case for why narrative should be part of organizational and management thinking. The result is a virtual how-to guide for using storytelling as a change, knowledge management, and education medium.
Annette Simmons: The Story Factor
Want to persuade, motivate, and inspire people in and outside of your organization? Simmons’ how-to of storytelling techniques, complete with hundreds of case studies from business and government, is a great place to start. Less about marketing than person-to-person and person-to-group communication, this is still essential reading for anyone seeking to understand narrative in a business context.
Whitney Quesenbery & Kevin Brooks: Storytelling for User Experience
For anyone on the design side of websites who needs to share research, large bodies of data, or complex information in compelling and effective ways, this is an excellent resource. The middle section of the book is the most interesting, with instructions on how to incorporate stories at all stages of the user experience process.