What Rocky teaches us about business storytelling

Almost everyone has been Rocky at one point in their life.

You just knew that you have what it takes … if only the world was at bit more fair and didn’t throw all the mess at you while treating the already big fish with (even more) money, (even more) relationships, and (even more) luck.

When someday luck would call you – just like Apollo did with Rocky to give him the opportunity to fight for the world championship, you’d prove that.

Haven’t you been Rocky? You knew that if only luck would call you to give you the opportunity to show the world that you really have what it takes, you would prove them right? Just like Rocky did? (I know that many of you actually have.)

That’s why Rocky resonates with so many people – even those who would never watch a real boxing fight. It’s not the boxing why people love Rocky. It’s the journey.

Rocky, just like any good story, is a canvas, a canvas we project ourselves on. We look at the hero, but it’s us who we see. If it’s a great story, we derive lessons from what we see and implement them for our own lives.

The same principle works for business stories.

Unfortunately, most business stories work rather differently. They are not designed as a canvas but as a spotlight. A rather bright one, in fact, so that the audience can appreciate the hero and cheer for them.

The problem with that is that audiences already have a hero to root for: themselves. They don’t need you to replace that hero.

A better way to tell a business story is to think of it as a canvas so that – even while we’re speaking about ourselves – it’s the customer who recognizes themselves in the story.

Can you point to a business story that does that for you? I’d love to hear it!

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Dr. Michael Gerharz

Dr. Michael Gerharz

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