Mckinsey article on storytelling

“What non-profits can teach the private sector about social media”


“Companies are spending countless hours and millions of dollars trying to master social media. Is this a revolutionary platform that can drive everything from customer relationships to product development–or just another form of marketing?”

I find the debate quite fascinating. Is social media the future of marketing, or is it simply a black hole? No one knows. But the Mckinsey article, excerpted in Forbes, sheds some new light on the topic. Registration is free should you wish to read the entire article.

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The Power of Storytelling

Companies are spending countless hours and millions of dollars trying to master social media. Is this a revolutionary platform that can drive everything from customer relationships to product development–or just another form of marketing? In a new book titled The Dragonfly Effect, Stanford University marketing professor Jennifer Aaker and marketing strategist Andy Smith seek to answer these questions by examining numerous examples of social media at work, distilling a framework for inspiring infectious action.
One of the four “dragonfly wings” that comprise the authors’ framework and give the book its name is engagement, which they define as “truly making people feel emotionally connected to helping you achieve your goals” through storytelling, authenticity and establishing a personal connection. Presented here is an excerpt adapted from the book, followed by a discussion between the authors and Dan Singer, a director in McKinsey’s New York office. The conversation focused on lessons useful for leaders seeking to boost their organizations’ marketing effectiveness by engaging customers through social media. The bottom line: Using social media to capture people’s attention is different from traditional advertising, and companies that measure the effectiveness of these new channels by simply counting Facebook fans should rethink their approach.

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Social-Media Engagement: A Case Study from The Dragonfly Effect Scott Harrison was at the top of his world. The 28-year-old New York–based nightclub and fashion promoter excelled at bringing models and hedge-fund kings together and selling them $500 bottles of vodka. He had money and power. Yet his lifestyle brought something else: emptiness. Harrison felt spiritually bankrupt.
So he walked away, volunteering to serve on a floating hospital offering free medical care in the world’s poorest nations. Serving as the ship’s photojournalist, Harrison was quickly immersed in a very different world. Thousands would flock to the ship looking for solutions to debilitating problems: enormous tumors, cleft lips and palates, flesh eaten by bacteria from waterborne diseases. Harrison’s camera lens brought into focus astonishing poverty and pain, and he began documenting the struggles of these people and their courage.
After eight months, he moved back to New York, but not to his former life. Aware that many of the diseases and medical problems he witnessed stemmed from inadequate access to clean drinking water, he decided to do something about it. In 2006 he founded Charity: Water, a nonprofit designed to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations.
Harrison launched the organization on his 31st birthday by asking friends to donate $31 instead of giving him a gift. It was a success–the birthday generated $15,000 and helped build Charity: Water’s first few wells in Uganda. In the three years that followed, Harrison’s simple birthday wish snowballed into donations that today total more than $20 million, translating into almost 3,000 water projects spanning everything from hand-dug wells and deep wells to protection for springs to rainwater harvesting. The organization has now provided clean water to more than 1.4 million people spanning 17 countries. Its success can be explained through four design principles for generating engagement with a brand through social media.
Tell a story. Harrison’s personal journey–evoking themes of redemption, change, and hope–engaged others on an emotional level. By candidly discussing in media interviews and YouTube videos why and how he started Charity: Water, the thoughtful, accessible, and youthful Harrison helped viewers fall in love with him and his cause.
For the complete article, click here.

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