Robert McKee and Skyword Join Forces to Bring Story to Content Marketing

Skyword and Robert McKee Join Forces to Bring Story to Content Marketing

Tom Gerace and World-Renowned Story Authority and Author to Collaborate on StorynomicsSeminars

 

Source: GlobeNewswire | Boston, MA, June 22, 2016 – Today, Tom Gerace, founder and CEO of Skyword, a leading content marketing technology and services company, announced a partnership with award-winning story authority and best-selling author Robert McKee at Skyword’s annual conference on brand storytelling, Forward 2016.

The partnership will include Gerace collaborating with McKee on McKee’s Storynomics seminars in the U.S. and Europe. The seminars instruct senior executives and marketing professionals on how to apply storytelling structure to their business in order to drive revenue, margins, and brand loyalty. In addition to the seminars, McKee and Gerace will offer customized day-long workshops to individuals within specific companies. They also plan to develop online Storynomics courseware that will help people master the craft. Working with McKee, Skyword also intends to operationalize story craft in its clients’ marketing processes through its technology and services.

“Storytelling is the future of marketing,” said Gerace. “To succeed in an increasingly ad-free world, marketers have to put story at the center of their strategies. We believe the future of content marketing, and indeed marketing in general, will be the application of story to connect with audiences on an emotional level and move them to act.”

“Marketers may think they understand story, but most don’t,” said McKee, whose seminars have been attended by more than 60 Oscar and 200 Emmy award-winning directors and screenwriters. “There is still a disconnect between what story is and how and when to use it effectively. Instead of stories, companies are producing narratives that are full of bragging and promising and have no dynamic movement. Storynomics teaches the tenants of story craft and helps attendees apply it to business.

“Tom Gerace understands story and its application to marketing better than anyone I have ever met,” said McKee. “It’s going to be a great collaboration and a crucial resource for marketers as they move their organizations from rhetorical to storified marketing.”

 

New Content Marketing Framework Will Help Brands Integrate Storynomics into Organizational Mindsets and Cultures

Skyword announced the partnership along with the launch of the Content Marketing Continuum™, an assessment for measuring an organization’s content marketing skillfulness and a framework for achieving greater levels of expertise.

“Many brands are doing content marketing at some level, but not enough are creating content that truly adds value, engages audiences, and drives revenue growth for the company. The continuum formalizes the process and gives marketers a roadmap for consistent improvement,” said Gerace.

The Content Marketing Continuum assessment ranks marketers on a five-stage scale, starting with those who are focused only on product-level content and gradually advancing to those who have adopted a sustainable, storified approach to content creation. The goal is to get teams thinking about the desires, challenges, and triumphs of their target customers, and ultimately embed story into the culture of their organizations.

Storynomics aims to bring marketers to the leading stages on the Continuum by arming them with the knowledge and skillsets they need to infuse story into their external and internal communications strategies.

Storynomics seminars will begin this fall, with the first scheduled in Los Angeles on October 12 and New York City on October 26. Registration is now open, and custom seminars are also available for companies wishing to teach management and marketing teams how to incorporate Storynomics into their organizations. Online courses will begin in early 2017.

For more information on Storynomics™ visit: www.storynomics.org or contact learnmore@skyword.com.

 

About Robert McKee: 

Robert McKee, a Fulbright Scholar, is the most sought-after screenwriting teacher in the world. The best-selling author of STORY and the forthcoming book DIALOGUE: THE ART OF VERBAL ACTION FOR PAGE, STAGE, AND SCREEN, McKee occupies a unique crossroads in modern media storytelling. His teachings have spread beyond the screen and stage to influence all story forms. Writers, producers, directors, media professionals, and business leaders from the world over read McKee and attend his sold-out international seminars for an exclusive deep dive into the narrative potential of their material. McKee’s former students include over 60 Academy Award Winners, 200 Academy Award Nominees, 200 Emmy Award Winners, 1,000 Emmy Award Nominees, 100 WGA (Writers Guild of America) Award Winners, 250 WGA Award Nominees, 50 DGA (Directors Guild of America) Award Winners, and 100 DGA Award Nominees.

McKee continues to be a project consultant to major film and television production companies such as 20th Century Fox, Disney, Paramount, & MTV. In addition, Pixar, ABC, BBC, Disney, Miramax, PBS, Nickelodeon, Paramount, GLOBOSAT, MNET and other international TV and Film companies regularly send their entire creative and writing staffs to his lectures.

Since 1984, more than 100,000 students have taken McKee’s courses in various cities around the world.

 

About Storynomics™

Robert McKee created Storynomics™ as the ultimate business communication tool. Storynomics™ illuminates what story is, why story works and, most importantly, how storytelling in business translates into economic success and beyond. In recent years, Storynomics™ has helped organizations as diverse as Microsoft, Nike, Hewlett-Packard, Kraft, BOLDT, Church & Dwight Co, Inc., Costa Del Mar, UBISOFT, Mercedes-Benz, and Siemens develop their evolving narrative game plans.

 

Connect with Robert McKee

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RobertMcKeeSeminars/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mckeestory
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robertmckee2
McKee Seminars: http://mckeestory.com/about/

 

About Tom Gerace 

Tom Gerace is the founder and CEO of Skyword, the leading content marketing technology and services company. Prior to Skyword, Gerace founded Be Free, a publicly traded affiliate marketing platform and services company, which transformed online advertising from pay-per-view to pay-for-performance advertising. At the time of its acquisition by ValueClick, Be Free served more than 300 leading brands. He is a founding member of the Social Media Ad Consortium, an industry group responsible for creating a common vocabulary, standard buying units, and uniform measurement methods for social media.  Early in his career, Gerace also served as a senior business analyst at the Harvard Business School, where he wrote the first case studies on the emergence of the Internet in 1998.

 

About Skyword

Skyword liberates brands from ineffective marketing practices and inspires them to create deeper connections with their audiences. The Skyword Platform makes it easy to produce, optimize, and promote content at any scale to create meaningful, lasting relationships. Skyword also provides access to a community of thousands of freelance writers and videographers, an editorial team, and program managers who help move clients’ content marketing programs to new levels of creative excellence. Skyword is a privately held company headquartered in Boston, MA. The company’s technology center is located in Pittsburgh, PA. Investors include Cox Media Group, Allen & Company, Progress Ventures, and American Public Media Group.

 

Connect with Skyword

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/skyword
Twitter: @Skyword
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/skyword-inc-
The Content Standard: http://www.contentstandard.com/

Why Smart Companies Embrace the Negative

Why is the negative so important in Storynomics™? Robert McKee explains to The PLOT Company why we should never avoid the negative in storytelling.

 

Quotes of the Week

“A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.”
 
- Graham Greene

 

“Every great story seems to begin with a snake.”
 
- Nicolas Cage

Is It Possible to Bring Storytelling Into Marketing?

Is it possible to bring storytelling into marketing or would it be too complex? Robert McKee explains the difference between traditional marketing and marketing using story.

 

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“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.”

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“Stories are the secret reservoir of values: change the stories individuals and nations live by and tell themselves, and you change the individuals and nations.”

- Ben Okri

How to Use Story in Business Presentations

Ready to Stop Using Coercion and Seduction? Robert McKee explains why people are tired of coercion and seduction but hungry for story.

 

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“What kind of logic do you use, scientific or humanistic? The answer is you must use both.”

- Robert McKee

 

“Only that in you which is me can hear what I’m saying.”

- Baba Ram Dass

Can Story Motivate My Employees?

Robert McKee outlines the key characteristics of good storytelling that empower your presentations and encourage a workforce to be more productive.

 

Quote of the Week

“Learning can only happen when a child [or an employee] is interested. If he’s not interested, it’s like throwing marshmallows at his head and calling it eating.”

- Kartina Gutleben

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Storytelling Your Way to a Better Job

Storytelling Your Way to a Better Job or a Stronger Start-Up

By Alina Tugend - New York Times DEC. 12, 2014 [Full Article]

 

It’s been called a strategic tool with “irresistible power” by Harvard Business Review. And “the major business lesson of 2014” by Entrepreneur magazine

What exciting new 21st-century technology is this?

The age-old art of storytelling — something humans have done since they could first communicate. So why has it become this year’s buzzword? And what is its new value?

In these days of tougher-than-ever job searches, competition for crowdfunding and start-ups looking to be the next Google or Facebook, it’s not enough just to offer up the facts about you or your company to prospective employers or investors. Or even to your own workers.

You need to be compelling, unforgettable, funny and smart. Magnetic, even. You need to be able to answer the question that might be lingering in the minds of the people you’re trying to persuade: What makes you so special?

You need to have a good story.

“As human beings, we know that stories work, but when we get in a business relationship, we forget this,” said Keith Quesenberry, a lecturer at the Center for Leadership Education at Johns Hopkins University.

Learning — or relearning — how to tell stories requires some skill. And consultants are lining up to teach it — sometimes for a hefty fee.

Although the power of storytelling to attract — and even manipulate — is well known, the reason for its appeal has been unclear. But it may have something to do with oxytocin, also called the love hormone.

Paul Zak, a professor of economics, psychology and management at Claremont Graduate University, studies oxytocin, which is produced in the brain. Researchers have found it to be plentiful in lactating women and released during orgasm. It is also thought to bolster trust and empathy.

To see the impact of storytelling on oxytocin, Professor Zak conducted a now well-known experiment. Participants had their blood drawn before and again after watching videos of character-driven stories. The result? When those watching the stories had an increase in oxytocin, they tended to help more — donating money to a charity associated with the story, for example.

But not every story is well told. Most of us know a compelling tale when we hear one, but “it’s difficult for people to articulate why they like what they like,” Professor Zak said.

PowerPoints are the bane of storytellers, but here are a few bullet points to keep in mind when developing a good story:

■ Know who your audience is.

■ Have a beginning, middle and end. (That sounds obvious, but people often forget that.)

■ Use concrete details and personal experience.

■ Don’t self-censor.

■ Don’t try to memorize a story so it sounds rehearsed. It’s not about perfection. It’s about connecting.

It’s that simple. And that complicated. You can have a multimillion-dollar movie that bombs and a brilliant five-act story in 30 seconds. After all, long before Twitter, Ernest Hemingway is said to have managed to tell a complete and heart-wrenching story in six words: “For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.”

How Does Story Affect Life?

If you wish to understand the Primacy of Story - why story is essential to human motivation and decision-making - Robert McKee will get you started in this in-depth presentation for Thinking Digital.
 

Quotes of the Week

“The Business story is designed to trigger the listener to take an effective action. If it doesn’t, the story fails.”

- Robert McKee

“Story is morally neutral. It can express profound truth or propaganda. The two greatest political storytellers of the 20th Century were Winston Churchill and Adolph Hitler. Because storytelling is a form of persuasive jujitsu, and because world is full of black belt storytellers, the corporate leader has to train both his offensive and defensive moves.”

- Robert McKee

“Once upon a time you went to war with products and services. Today, the stories we tell or fail to tell determine our destinies.”

– James McCabe

Robert McKee’s STORY-in-BUSINESS Tips

1. LOOK FOR TROUBLE

The starting point of all stories is a moment of disruption. A negative event throws the protagonist’s life out of balance, hooking the audience’s curiosity: How will this turn out? The protagonist’s quest to restore life’s balance by struggling against negative forces is at the heart of all compelling narratives. Therefore, fine storytellers do not avoid the negative side of life; they seek it out. They look for a instance of trouble so they can arc the telling to a positive return to balance.
 

2. NEVER STAR AN OVERDOG

When human beings weigh their chances for achieving their deepest desires against the almost overwhelming forces of mother nature, social institutions, and even their own subconscious selves, they feel that they are an underdog. Indeed, no one feels like an overdog. Even the most powerful, wealthy, influential people fear, deep down inside, that everything they’ve achieved could be taken from them in a sudden moment of bad luck. Therefore, for a story to engage the feeling side of its audience, it must draw them into empathy or identification with a protagonist who, like the audience, is up against very powerful forces of antagonism.
 

3. NEVER STAR YOURSELF

Almost without exception, all statements about one’s self are self-serving. Even when someone criticizes himself in public, there there’s always a subtext of self-congratulations: “And aren’t I a wonderfully self-aware, honest and brave person to see my flaws and confess them?” The line between autobiography and bragging is thin. Therefore, at those times in business when you must talk about your life, try to tell your story from someone else’s point of view. If you were to talk about your university years, for example, tell the story of how an inspirational professor opened your eyes to a profound truth. Make the professor a star and you a lucky bystander.
 

4. ASK: “WHAT DO I WANT MY LISTENER TO DO?”

The Purpose-Told Story for business is created from back to front, not front to back. Begin with the action you want to trigger in your audience: a purchase or an investment or a job well done. Once that is clear in your mind, ask yourself: “What kind of story would trigger that action in that particular person?” From there you follow your imagination back to the beginning: “What event would throw my protagonist’s life out of balance and launch a series of actions aimed at that trigger action?” With those two posts in the ground, you build a bridge of story to suspend between them.

How Do I Use Story in a Keynote Address?

Robert McKee explains why, how, when, and where Story is best used in public speaking.
 

Quotes of the Week:

“People don’t have 30 seconds to be interrupted, but they always have 30 minutes to hear a good story.”

– Jon Thomas

“Why was Solomon recognized as the wisest man in the world? Because he knew more stories (proverbs) than anyone else. Scratch the surface in a typical boardroom and we’re all just cavemen with briefcases, hungry for a wise person to tell us stories.”

- Alan Kay

“Story is more than a communications tool, more than a sales tool; it is a decision-making tool. With enough data, any executive can read a cross-section of the now; only a few can author the future through story.”

- Robert McKee 

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The Naked Brand (13-minute abridged version)

According to Bloomberg: “The Naked Brand takes aim at traditional advertising and its future. With their constant use of technology and social media, today’s consumers are smarter and more invested in what they buy and marketers are taking advantage of this newly empowered customer by creating transparent and positive stories about their companies and products.”

Visit the film’s official website: http://thenakedbrand.com

How Does Story Relate to Business?

Robert McKee has taught Story-in-Business all over the world. This quick clip from Brazil hints at some of the content of his one-day seminar.
 

Six Classic Errors in Business Story

  1. Telling your story from the company’s view.
  2. Talking to the customer in the third person.
  3. Avoiding reality as way too “heavy”.
  4. Creating a gratuitious feel-good factor.
  5. Avoiding exact detail in the search for universality.
  6. Calling rhetorical exercises “stories” when they are only directed at the mental processes.

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Harvard Business Review: “Robert McKee on Storytelling That Moves People”

Why is persuasion so difficult, and what can you do to set people on fire? In search of answers to those questions, HBR senior editor Bronwyn Fryer paid a visit to Robert McKee, the world’s best-known and most respected screenwriting lecturer.