Storytelling by Ted Frank #QRCA #MRX

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Welcome to this series of live blogs from the QRCA conference in Montreal. Any errors, omissions, or silly side comments are my own.

Storytelling: How to Actually Tell an Insights Story to Far-Reaching Clients
Presenter: Ted Frank

  • Why don’t people pay attention to consumer opinions? Why don’t they care?
  • Research is traditionally 500 pages text with tables and charts and no pictures or stories
  • We don’t want research insights landing in the morgue of the filing cabinet
  • Think of the cross-section between emotional/practical and comprehensive/sharpened [i’m a practical comprehensive person]
  • CEO’s need to inspire other people and they need a nice package they can share with others
  • Agencies need the emotionality because they need to deliver a feeling
  • Movies have long complicated stories, lots of characters, very little time, unique language. What can we steal from movies?
  • Don’t just bucket. It’s a journey that unfolds. Ramp up the drama which makes it easier to remember. Build up the conflict and then resolve it.
  • Deliver understanding, empathy, and confidence in your story
  • Step 1 is to welcome them in so they can feel and taste the consumer. Perhaps start with the stunning insight that never occurred to you before. Music is the quickest way to get someone in to an emotion.
  • Provocative statements make you stand up and listen even if you disagree
  • Establish urgency and credibility. You are smart to care. Pull on heartstrings. Bring in emotional quotes to draw them in. “Kids are getting stupider every year or there’s something wrong with our educational system.” Use statistics and expert interviews.
  • Have a challenge statement. “Which company will create the perfect product”
  • Personalize by bringing in some heroes – someone your clients can relate to and want to help
  • “Blender” blend work and personal sides.  You don’t have to start with the insight. You can start by introducing a memorable person who will introduce the insight.
  • Simplify with action.  Show the pain a consumer has while using your product.
  • Evoke a cause, they HAVE to jump on something. Review the heroes, their aspirations, pains, limitations, opportunities, gaps, challenges
  • Instead of “so what”, try going with a “what if”
  • Use tension – framing, pacing, music. Framing – stand farther or closer to your audience, close up or far away images. Pacing – speak slowly or quickly, slow down or speed up the shot.
  • If your audience is under 50 people, you may be ok using regular music off the internet. If you’re documenting someone’s use of music, you’re probably ok. BUT, if it’s going to 2000 sales people, you’re best to use something like But do get legal advice if need be.
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