The Business of Story

Park Howell promises to reignite within you the one true superpower well all possess - storytelling - in the Business of Story. Learn from internationally acclaimed story artists, content strategists, and brand raconteurs who will help you craft and tell compelling stories that sell. This is the "How To" podcast for story marketing. Each episode delivers at least one actionable tip that will help you connect with your customers, move them to action, and start creating epic growth for your enterprise and your people. Story on!
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The Business of Story




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Expert storytellers teach you how to move people to action.

May 21, 2017

What do you think is the most valuable survival tool in an arctic expedition? A nice winter coat? Snowshoes? Warm hat?

For a 900 mile trek through one of the most dangerous places on earth, over hidden crevasses, calving glaciers, and frozen landscapes, one of the most critical tools is the ability to communicate the right story.

Joining us on this edition of Business of Story is adventurer Robert Swan, the first man to journey across both the North and South Poles unaided.

His dream of traversing the ice caps began in his childhood, and when he was an adult, he was ready to go, but he couldn’t do it alone.

For the next seven years, he worked hard to find sponsorship for this journey, and through the many rejections, he could learn from his mistakes and refine a compelling story to gain support.

Robert used these very same storytelling techniques to inspire his fellow arctic companions and survive the ice. Today, he is one of the leading experts in the field of sustainability leadership, bringing students from around the world to visit the ice caps.

Decades of experience has taught Robert the necessity of storytelling in leadership roles. To be able to craft a narrative, convince people of their own personal gain, and trust in those around you is the mark of a good leader.

In This Show, You’ll Learn:

  • How great leaders use storytelling to rally support
  • Importance of credibility in your narrative
  • Telling your story through someone else’s point of view

Key Quotes

  • “Trust yourself. If you don’t trust you, who is going to trust you?” – Robert Swan
  • “Every time I was told no, I listen to why these people told me no.” – Robert Swan
  • “Trust will inspire people more than anything.” – Robert Swan
  • ‘You really connected with their legacy, they didn’t even realize they were part of these expeditions.” – Park Howell

Mentioned in this episode



May 14, 2017

The world of brand marketing is changing rapidly. Ad campaigns don't work like they used to. Because brands are no longer the storytellers. They're the story makers handing their stories to their customers in hopes they'll share it with their world.

Smart brands are focused on making movements, like REI's #OptOutside effort. Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign. Or Heineken's recent "Open Your World" work.

How do you turn an ad campaign into a meaningful movement that matters? It starts by creating a relationship with your audiences through your story marketing.

Brand relationship expert, Kimberly Manno Reott of Context Partners, joins us from her home in Madrid, Spain. She explores the three elements and six critical roles to every successful movement.

Context Partners is a new type of design firm focused on relationships at scale.

We all face a changing world where identity, information, and power are rapidly shifting. Traditional models of communication are failing and once-passive audiences are coalescing into powerful, vocal communities.

Kimberley and her team help organizations like Microsoft, Lilly and the Rockefeller Foundation and the Rainforest Alliance build, navigate and leverage their relationships to shape the future.

Kimberly will teach you how to craft a compelling message and structure the right team with the correct personalities to turn your campaign into a movement. 

In This Show, You’ll Learn:

  • How to approach business storytelling through the lens of relationships, particularly through the STORYTELLER.
  • The three-story plot points you need to make any movement take off
  • The six aspirational roles people play to make your cause successful
  • And the almighty power of chocolate to bring clarity to your story.

Key Quotes:

“All business strategy is a story.” – Park Howell

“In traditional marketing, consumers get segmented by demographics… that way of segmenting people is kind of old school and actually doesn’t allow you to build the relationships that are lasting.” –  Kimberly Manno Reott

“It ultimately comes down to building these relationships by truly understanding your audience.” –Park Howell

Mentioned in this episode:


May 7, 2017

How would you go about creating a brand story for a person? Would you be able to sell an individual’s personal story or even your own?

We at Business of Story focus on teaching storytelling and branding techniques for media marketers, advertisers, nonprofits, and other business-oriented organizations and leaders.Inline image 1 

Today we ask you to think of another area you can improve upon with a little bit of storytelling.

Marketing your own life is something that may be overlooked a bit too frequently, but if you can harness the power of story, the possibilities of your personal growth are endless.

With a bit of narrative, you’ll stand out above the rest, whether it be a job interview, making a big sale or just gaining a positive reputation in your community.

Our guest on this podcast episode is Sally Hogshead of How to Fascinate.

Author, advertiser, branding expert, media marketer and mother of eight, Sally joins us to share her story and what led her to the creation of her Fascination Personality Test.

Discover How The World Sees You with Sally Hogshead's Personality Test

Her creativity has been a defining part of her character, and from elementary school classrooms to international corporate offices, Sally’s experiences in story brand marketing have helped her craft her personality test to help you understand and utilize your own character.

This wonderful and insightful test is unlike any other I’ve ever taken, and to prove it, Sally is going to let you take the test for free!

Visit her Website and enter the code ‘story17’ for an opportunity to gain insight into your personality traits and how to best use your strengths.

Story on!


Apr 30, 2017

In March, The Virgin Group honored storytelling month on its website because Richard Branson believes that the strength and ability to tell stories effectively drives performance in business. 

Branson is just one business leader who has tapped into the ancient craft of storytelling to drive performance and mold the behaviors that construct the culture within many of his booming companies. 

Another one of these astonishing storytellers is our guest today, Doug Keeley.

Doug, the founder of The Mark of a Leader, believes that his life and career path were ultimately changed by the narrative of Tim Burton‘s film, Big Fish, after he lost everything in the crash of his $50 million company.

Doug will share with us how he learned to drive performance through compelling storytelling and how narrative can help you construct the level of prosperity you deserve in your company. 

He originates from Toronto, Canada, where he formed his storyteller skills by being an elite jazz guitarist, a brand marketing guru, and an acclaimed speaker and storytelling coach to many leaders. 

Story on ~


In This Show, You’ll Learn: 

  • The five levels of leadership engagement through narrative
  • How you can use all five levels of leadership engagement even though your competitors are only utilizing two of them
  • How you can apply the ‘storytelling for leaders’ program in your business

Key Quotes:

“All great organizations have a story about how they started and stories that show their culture. I put that together with leadership, and that’s how I ended up here.” – Doug Keeley

“One day, we were this crazy, great company and the next day it was gone. That was a very scary moment.” – Doug Keeley

“Kids aren’t learning by the written word – they are learning by video. At some point in the not too distant future, you’re going to drop in virtual reality to that, and it’s going to completely change how we tell stories.” –Park Howell

“We take this corporate drivel, self-aggrandizing features, and benefitand turn them into stories. If we’re good at it, we make people think, and that’s all Hollywood does—that’s what great writers do.” – Doug Keeley

“In religion, the story will tell you ‘this is how we want you to behave in this circumstance.’ When you put a whole bunch of behaviors together, that’s called culture because the dominant behaviors of any group are what their culture is all about and inarguably in the world of corporate culture, culture drives performance.” – Doug Keeley


Apr 22, 2017

Your customers don’t want to hear about what you make. They want a story about what you make happen. That’s why Robert Rose urges you to transform your marketing department into a storytelling department. Turn your adverbs and adjectives into adventures in your story marketing to move your audiences to action.  

Our guest today has us covered in storytelling from music to Hollywood to creating stories for the largest brands. He’s a sought-after social content marketing strategist, speaker, author, and conspirator of business success.

Robert is the chief strategy officer for the content advisory, the consulting and education group for the Content Marketing Institute. 

He co-hosts This Old Marketing podcast with Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute. He also co-wrote a book with Joe called “Managing Content Marketing,” which is widely considered to be the owners manual of the content marketing process.

Robert has helped develop content and customer experience strategies for large enterprises such as Oracle, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Allstate Insurance, Microsoft, Capital One, AT&T, PEPCO, UPS—and the list just keeps going!


In This Show, You'll Learn: 

  • How to transform your marketing department into a storytelling institute
  • The biggest mistake most people make in content marketing
  • Why you should move your advertising marketing and sales content from featuring adverbs to focusing on adventures

Key Quotes:

"Build those strategic initiatives, those platforms that will help you tell your story that delivers value over time and build that audience so that you get the value of all the content you're creating, not just the individual assets that you're creating." - Robert Rose

"I'm a big believer in when people say, 'content is king.' Then I say, 'Storytelling is the kingdom sorcerer,' - because that's where the magic happens." - Park Howell

"It's about helping them understand that there is another world out there for content that can actually be valuable to the customer - that they can tell stories with." - Robert Rose

"Transform it from an approach of describing value to describing an experience with value packed into it." - Park Howell

 "We can put adjectives in front of nouns, and we can talk about synergies, paradigms, and all sorts of stuff that we're good at it. We can do those things well, but the creation of content for value sake for the audience is a different muscle. It's about delivering value in the content." - Robert Rose

Mentioned in this episode:

Apr 16, 2017

One thing we can all agree on is that the digital world is a dynamic place to tell our stories. 

Never in the history of advertising and marketing have brand storytellers like you had more ways to share your messages. 

But these days it seems nearly impossible to cut through the clutter, and that's why there's a gathering every year in San Diego with the top social media experts to help you figure this out. It's Social Media Marketing World and it just took place.

During my time in San Diego, I had the privilege of getting not one, not two, but three interviews with wonderful story brand creators. 

In the corridors of the Social Media Marketing World conference venue, we taped this show. Joining us are Ian Cleary of RazorSocial, Peg Fitzpatrick, author of The Art of Social Media, and Brian Fanzo of iSocialFanz and cohost of the SmackTalk podcast.

These three individuals are pioneers of the world of social media marketing and have boundless insights into how you can best optimize your business’ posts, tweets, and updates.

Their methods of being heard in the cacophony of the social media content storm are you guessed it -- storytelling! Listen in for tips, tricks, stories, and experiences from these social media pros.

Show Guests: 

In This Show, You'll Learn:

  • Why  developing relationships is crucial for engagement on social media and content marketing platforms
  • How to use visuals and interactive narratives to tell a more powerful story
  • The importance of authenticity in social media

Key Quotes:

"You need to understand: Do you have the right audience?" —Ian Cleary 

"There's nothing better at the end of the day, to build a relationship, than when we sit side-by-side having a chat." —Ian Cleary 

"You feel like, I'll just add a little more and a little more, but simple is so good!" —Peg Fitzpatrick

"The first thing you want to do is make sure you know what your brand is." —Peg Fitzpatrick

"For me, I didn't feel like I was doing anything that was special. I always loved sharing." —Brian Fanzo  

"Social media and digital is hard and painful if you're putting on a persona or you're telling a story that really isn't you." —Brian Fanzo

"I think if content is king, then certainly storytelling is the kingdom sorcerer because it's where the magic happens." —Park Howell

"People buy stories much more than anything else." —Park Howell

Mentioned in this episode:

About Business of Story Podcast

The Business of Story is hosted by trusted brand story strategist and keynote speaker Park Howell and is among the top business and marketing podcasts geared toward founders, CEOs, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and communication leaders.

Each episode brings you the brightest content creators, advertising creatives, authors, screenwriters, makers, marketers, and brand raconteurs that show you how to make your brand story marketing stand out and achieve epic growth in your organization.  


Apr 2, 2017

Today we are investigating how you can use story marketing to turn a commodity into commotion. We’re talking about elevating a fairly banal item, like socks, into a meaningful and sought after experience—all through the brand stories you share!

I know it sounds crazy, but socks are a $6 billion global industry. Imagine the market share you might carve out simply by disrupting the norm with story? 

Today we’re going to meet two people who have done exactly that through their plucky five-year-old company, Sock Club. That’s right! I am a proud Sock Club member.

The company, which was born in 2012 as a small side project, has become one of the premier sock-subscription services. They send quality American-made socks to subscribers around the world. Every month, Sock Club designs and releases a one-of-a-kind sock design. They tell the story of the inspiration behind the design that accompanies each pair.

Joining us today is Sock Club Co-founder, Noah Lee, and Creative Brand Manager, Melissa Huisman, who have spent the past fifteen months bringing the brand voice to life through creative marketing and storytelling. So, how can you use story marketing and turn a basic commodity into a meaningful experience? Let’s find out! 

You’ll Learn:

  • How you can carve out a market share for your brand by using effective storytelling
  • How you can bring a personality and voice to your brand through story
  • Why you should use creative marketing to turn a commodity into a meaningful experience

Key Quotes:

“If we were going to do this we would do it through humor and we would do it through colorful socks.” —Noah Lee @SockClub (click to tweet)

“Something that we strongly believe in is the power of storytelling and the power of human truth.” —@mk_huis (click to tweet)

“How can we say one thing that matters and encourage someone to take the next step in their journey to be bold or courageous?” —@mk_huis (click to tweet)

“You have to think about what’s going to influence them or how they will walk away and think about your brand.” —Noah Lee @SockClub (click to tweet)

“There are stories that already exist in your product, you just need to bring them to the surface.” —@mk_huis (click to tweet)


Mentioned in This Episode:


Mar 26, 2017

Joel Capperella joins us on Business of Story; and today, we talk about why you must recognize and tap into the dramatic nature of what's actually happening in your sales conversions, the journey your customer's on, and what stories they're telling themselves about you at that moment.

We're also going to look at the most powerful word in storytelling, and that word is 'why.' That's all about the power of why in your story, listening in your storytelling, and in your story selling.

At the end of the show, Joel has a tool for you to make sure you have the proper story alignment in your sales pipeline. Let's explore how to use story marketing to fill your sales funnel with the right folks.

You'll Learn:

  • How to use the right story marketing to up your sales conversion rates
  • Why the word "why" is so powerful in storytelling
  • Why you need to always be attuned to your customer's journey

Key Quotes:

"It's not just enough to have good content. It has to be content that connects." - @JoelCapperella (click to tweet)

I still have to be very intentional about sitting down, designing, and mapping out the story that I'm going to tell." - @ParkHowell (click to tweet)

"Start with a moment. Start with a human experience around your product or service, and listen to it." - @ParkHowell (click to tweet)

"I really believe that above all, story is a catalyst to really great things within our organizations." - @JoelCapperella (click to tweet)

"If we have trouble telling our own story, or our customer's stories, we have to assume that our customers are too." - @JoelCapperella (click to tweet)

Mentioned in This Episode:



Mar 19, 2017
We've all found ourselves in situations where we are at odds with an audience. For example, trying to launch an internal initiative in a corporate environment to a reluctant CEO. 
Persuading someone to change an unhealthy behavior. Or getting someone with an opposite view to open up and see things your way. On today's Business of Story, we review thimportance of finding common ground to help your stories connect with audiences and move people to action.

We're fortunate to have the documentary filmmaker, Peter Byck, join us. Peter's award-winning films, including Garbage and Carbon Nation, have often placed him at odds with audiences because of his subject matter around the highly charged debate on climate change and our impact on it. Peter is a master at finding common ground with his interviewees, as well as the naysayers who confront him on his sustainable storytelling.

You can see how Peter bridges these relationships, not only in his work but also in his two appearances on HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher.

Peter will show you how to overcome nerves when presenting by placing your audience first and foremost in your intentions. You'll learn the importance of letting serendipity help you find the focus of your storytelling. And he'll reveal why the "Solution" story is one of the most important narratives you can tell to open the hearts and minds of your audiences. 

You'll Learn:


  • How to relate to an audience that disagrees with you
  • Why finding common ground with your audience is vital
  • How focusing on being of service to your audience will help you get your story across

Key Quotes:

"Let me be of service. Let whatever I'm about to say be helpful." - @peterbyck (click to tweet)

I've learned to show people true respect in how I can listen, and they tell me things." - @peterbyck (click to tweet)

"I decided to just focus on solutions, and that's what Carbon Nation was all about - solutions." - @peterbyck (click to tweet)

"I'm not looking to change somebody's mind. I'm looking to find what they already agree on with me or the other folks." - @peterbyck (click to tweet)

Mentioned in This Episode:

Mar 12, 2017

With the always-on interwebs, I believe that ADHD is now a communicable disease. And, guess what? We are all the viruses.

So, how do you get your brand story to rise above the noise and allow it the opportunity to be heard? Well, we'll look at one way to do that.

On today's show, we're going to explore the concepts of irony and juxtaposition in your business stories to help them stand out—to help you stand out—especially with your visual storytelling.

Our guest, James Popsys, has a unique view of life captured in the inventive and witty images he creates in Photoshop.

His visual storytelling conjures up irony and juxtaposition to stop you in your tracks and trigger stories in your mind.

From the verdant babbling brook flowing through the graffiti canals of London to the giant hot dogs grilling on the side of a building to the schooner sailing on top of a hurricane, James and I explore where the inspiration for his images comes from and how you can tap into that for your stories.

He'll also show you how you can jumpstart your Instagram page (as you might imagine, a pretty important channel for his work) and, you'll learn his three rules for finding, capturing, and telling visual stories that genuinely stand out.

What You'll Learn:

  • How irony and juxtaposition can set you apart
  • Why audiences prefer real as opposed to over-produced
  • The rule of thirds and other tips for Instagram

Key Quotes:

Everybody has a platform now and there has never been more noise to have to break through to get your voice heard. - @jamespopsys 

It's no longer about having the sharpest lenses and getting the exposure spot-on, it's about storytelling. - @jamespopsys 

If you can find something that's different, as opposed to better, I think you stand a better chance of standing out. - @jamespopsys

I want it to look like somebody has stepped up to a really odd scene and just snapped with their camera. - @jamespopsys 

Mentioned in This Episode:


Mar 5, 2017

It’s often thought that keeping a business's focus more general is a positive way to stay open to more business. But in reality, generalizing actually weakens your brand story. Learning how to be super focused and specific in your brand story’s unique offering will help strengthen your messaging, grow your business, and bring success to your brand.

Today’s guest will help you focus your brand story. He’s been marketing high-tech for more than thirty years. He’s taken companies from the early startup stage to hundreds of millions of dollars of sales through focused storytelling. He was most recently the head of international marketing for Infusionsoft, where he helped grow the company from $15 million in annual sales to $100 million. He did this by narrowing the company's brand story, then helping the Infusionsoft team and its customers live into and prosper from that story.

Greg Head is now a strategic growth advisor to a number of emerging companies. On today’s show, he’ll share some of the secrets he has gained by interviewing 300 executives over the past year about the growth of their companies. He’ll explain why you need to move from the attention deficit disorder that plagues most startups into the obsessive compulsive disorder mindset required for a focused leader to grow their company.

Primary Points:

  • Why being more narrow in your message actually makes it more powerful
  • How to tune into the most important and unique part of your brand story
  • How to grow your business exponentially by lasering into one message


Key Quotes:

“The simple answer is the right one and the useful one.” —@GregHead (click to tweet)

You can’t say everything to everybody.” —@GreagHead (click to tweet)

The more you say no, the more the world hears you.” —@GregHead (click to tweet)

Mentioned in This Episode: