General Session Keynote

Friday, August 4, 2017

8:45am –9:45pm

Isaac Wright (Formerly with Correct the Record PAC), Steve Silver (Nissan Motor Corporation), and Meagan Bond (The One Campaign)

Help your audience to really care about your issue. Bring them into the story – engage them, make them cry, make them laugh, show them the lives of the people most impacted. Discover how to develop a unifying narrative and harness stories that make the best case for your cause.

Have feedback on this session? We’d love to hear it! Submit it here.


Background and Introduction

  • Emotive storytelling is a priority in our industries
  • In the car industry, it’s a little more difficult – but it helps that cars are an emotional object, and everyone has a great story about their cars. At Nissan, we are trying to tell more of our legacy through storytelling.
  • In the political world, the more you can relate to people the easier it is to relate to people.
  • ONE talks about people who are talking about inherently emotional things (life & death), policymakers and people, it’s a deep kind of emotional storytelling, that can help you connect to stories and people that look very unfamiliar.

Why are stories so important?

  • Stories (and understanding stories) is hardwired in us, the average child has been exposed to 4-5 narratives a day. Humans are hardwired to think in narrative forms.
  • Some of the things that bring out emotive good storytelling: Smart, creative, structured and simple stories. Stories that are AUTHENTIC, THOUGHT PROVOKING, IMPACTFUL, POWERFUL, HUMAN – those are the most important parts.
  • For every single good story, the way it will connect is if it is related to a human.
  • As soon as humans could communicate, we communicated in stories – it’s a distinctly human tool. It’s something only humans can do really well. When you’re listening to a good story you’re having the same experience, you can have millions of people never leave their living room, but have an experience.

How can we use graphics?

  • Thanks to technology and the internet, graphic storytelling is very available to us, it makes your story more illustrative. In a lot of ways, words can only go so far, and it’s always better to show through graphics. Graphics make your story more understandable, and good graphics are very memorable, easily shared and repurposed.
  • Graphics can keep the story going, come up with your most important data point and amplify them.
  • Good graphics are familiar, identifiable – balance the simple with the detail. ]
  • At one we think about graphics as the ability to communicate the art of the possible – how can we communicate really big and tough ideas in a simple graphic.

When is video the most effective way to tell the story?

  • When there are complex narratives, you have to fit in a complex way, video can help (ex: – where it was a state Hospital Association that had to recruit activists, they marketed to the faith community, and tied it their ad campaign directly to the significance and value of the work, featuring lots of interrelated complex imagery within the video)
  • WHEN you want to show instead of tell- video is the best way. When you need to reach people in a way that they don’t know the need to be reached, use video.
  • Video is especially valuable because the most powerful social media platforms are valuing it. Facebook is going to make sure most people see videos and always remember to add text since people are often watching without turning the volume on. You can also use the text to drive it through.
  • The sound track is also very important. It can set the mood – as well as to help move it along. But with the audio, make sure the edit hits the right beat.

What’s the difference between new storytelling and old storytelling?

  • We live in the golden age of storytelling, there was the old model, where your mediums were limited. But today with such media rich opportunities like VIDEOS – and infographics, TV and radio, social platforms have become very powerful. Instagram, in particular, is an incredible platform, it’s encouraging visual storytelling through pictures.
  • Finding ways to make content more experiential will be crucial. Virtual reality is definitely going to play into the storytelling paradigm in the future. But you have to embrace the idea that: “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like relevance even less”
  • Humor can also help, we’re much more receptive to humor today than we were before. It is a good way of building trust, when you laugh with someone you tend to trust them, any kind of interaction like that can help.
  • Everyone doesn’t have to be funny – laughing at issues we work on would do more harm than good.
  • HUMOR should talk about some shared insight, clever is not what you are aiming for- clever is not good. Be more direct – and consider international contexts.

What are good metrics for videos?

  • It depends on if you have a specific call to action or not, and most videos should have those. But it depends on the ultimate purpose.
  • You should always be up front about what the goal is, we can’t justify spending as much money as we do on video if it’s not going to be effective.