Paddy: [00:00:17] Welcome back to the StoryMatters podcast with your hosts, Paddy Ney and Sam Cook.
Sam: [00:00:21] Paddy, great to be here. Looking forward to telling some great stories.
Paddy: [00:00:25] So this is the third episode in our sort of crucial four-part series and StoryMatters. In the first
Sam: [00:00:44] So the first episode in this series of four is about the history and future of storytelling and why mastering storytelling is so important. And this is foundational, because if you don't believe a story matters in the first place and why it's so important and now more than ever, that's worth a listen so that you can get motivated to learn this craft.
[00:01:10] Because I think one of the big mistakes people make when they first hear our message is that, OK nothing really matters but
[00:01:25] And the whole point of this podcast and everything we do is, a great story is never easy. In fact getting to the point where it's even useful which we're talking about today is hard. And art that changes millions of lives is pretty rare. So that's the first episode.
The second one what we went over last time was about, who is your hero. So once you buy into the fact that story really is the most important thing in marketing, everyone gets really excited and thinks, OK I've got a great story to tell.
Sam: [00:01:55] But it's really not about you at all as a brand, as a business owner, as an expert or whatever you're doing to help people. It's about them and a great story, all the great stories are about a deep understanding of your avatar.
And we talked about some small examples, some big examples from history. And I think that should be really clear. So if you listen to that episode I think you'll get a lot out of that.
Sam: [00:02:29] But the way we ended in the last episode was some practical exercises or things that we do in the StoryMatters strategy workshop with all of our new private clients and our coaching clients, is focusing people on an entire really intense day of understanding who your hero is.
Sam: [00:02:42] And we actually end that day with the capstone exercise, which is writing, in first person, your hero's story to the point whereby writing in the first person understand that person and really start to live.
[00:02:58] And in fact, we just finished our last workshop: the story matters workshop for a new coaching group and people at the end were saying, "yes, why, I really left my body. It was as if someone took over my body."
I started writing for me and became that person. And obviously, we create an environment in the workshop that facilitates that with everyone else sitting around you doing the same thing and me making sure you do it.
Sam:[00:03:19] And then some intense music from our composer, who we'll talk about later, to get you in the mood. But the reason that exercise is so important is, this is something I learned actually listening to a man named Tony Robbins many years back was, Everyone has a story.
Everyone's walking around telling themselves a story and the question you have to ask yourself is; is your story useful? - Sam Cook, CEO James Cook Media
Because most people have an unhelpful story on why they can't do something, or why they are not where they want to be in life. And that brings me to today's lesson, or episode, which is about writing your hero's journey.
[00:04:03] Once you understand that everyone has a story, the next thing we need to understand is what is that story and is that story serving you.
And before I go into how we think about this from a market perspective, I just want to take a step back about, again, retreating to my favorite subject which is history.
Sam: [00:04:26] When I used to teach history at the United States Military Academy at West Point all the cadets would come in the first day of school, and they just
[00:05:02] Then they come back to classes and the entire week before classes they are getting yelled at by a bunch of other upperclassmen who've just met them. And it's it's classic Lord Of The Flies. You've seen all the military movies where there's this rite of passage or initiation. Are you tough enough, or are you respectful enough, and can you just put up with this?
Sam: [00:05:23] And so they're used to that and they're in this
[00:06:04] As a major we'd kind of grown up a bit and figured out that you know we were we viewed ourselves more as like Yoda type
But the first day of class I played on this story that they were living as you will of
Sam: [00:06:33] If you're a business owner, you know that if you
And all of them got up in front of people they didn't know, including this major who they thought was more frightening than all the other people they'd run into at the time, and said, "Well, I came to West Point because, I was you know, my father was in the military and he's a colonel, and you know, I want to follow in his footsteps and serve my country."
Sam: [00:07:08] And other people would say, "Well, I was little when September 11th happened, and I saw what happened when those buildings went down and I just grew up my entire life wanting to serve my country, and- and take revenge on, you know, these people."
I even had a cadet one time tell me that he'd lost a close family friend in the September 11th attacks in the United States in New York City. Other people: " I went to West Point because I got recruited to play football, and you know, but I also want to serve my country." And they all had these fantastic
Sam: [00:07:49] It was a very revered institution. It was known as the toughest school in the country to get through and therefore people would kind of look at these cadets in awe as someone going through that experience. And they all had these very good stories and reasons that they were going to West Point. But I actually at the end of it I would I would say to them. And by the way, at West
[00:08:36] The highest offense
And they all just looked at me like I just killed their puppy dog. It was absolutely a tough moment for them and I just let it linger for a few seconds. Let it soak in and said, "OK. I'm actually just kidding we're not going to do that. But none of you were completely honest with me. You weren't liars. But how close is your story to the real truth?"
Sam: [00:09:33] And I said to them, "Most of you are here for much more complex reasons than you care to admit, or that you even realize. And for some of you, your father was larger than life, and you never connected with him and this is your way to finally prove to him that you're a real man. And some of you, you might have had a very distant relationship with your mother."
Sam:[00:09:56] And this is West Point, a great place to hide from women, you know because it was majority 90 percent male institution. "Or some of you, you might have been abused as a child and this is a place to get complete power where no one can ever do that to you again. And some of you, your older brothers might have had held you down in the attic and beat you up late at night when your parents couldn't hear you."
Which is funny because that was what happened to me when I was little with two older brothers. And some of you, you know, had an uncle or you know... all of you have these complicated stories that go into your subconscious.
Reasons which you would never admit in public but there's a drive in you and you either realize it or you don't. And when I said these things it was like cadets would be smiling, and all of a sudden they'd stop smiling.
And you'd know that you'd hit on something that was an experience they'd had in life. And you know I mentioned a bunch of different reasons why they could be there and all of them resonated with one of those reasons or saw one of those real reasons, beyond the headline reason, as something they could have related to and wasn't maybe specific to their situation but it was something.
Sam: [00:11:10] And you know I said to them? I shared with them, I said, "You know when I got to West Point I thought I knew my reason. But I look back on my life, and it was probably a lot to do with being the third out of five children, and my dad would not pay attention to us until we were old enough to have an intelligent conversation."
Sam: [00:11:31] So I remember my mother reading lots of books to us very early. Great stories like The 'Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe', and all these things. So I became fascinated by storytelling as I was little.
And then one day I was watching the news and my grandfather was in town, and he had this hearing aid and he always used to switch it off, because we were quite loud, so it sits there. So he switches the hearing aid off- classic English grandfather, right? And he'd switch the hearing aid on when I came and spoke to him. And I was explaining to him the Falklands War, which was on the news at the time, which I was four years old and I had this great explanation- or he thought
Sam: [00:12:12] He called my dad over and said, "Peter, you should pay attention to this one because he's a smart one." And since that point I always- it was like a feedback loop as a very small child. I knew that if I connected with history and learned it I would get attention.
[00:12:32] West Point was this place where after constantly connecting with my father over war stories and Battle of Britain and Patton and all these things, I found out West Point existed and it was literally, I'd read too much history as a child.
[00:12:45] But the deeper reasons, you know, my headline reason was I read too many history books as a child. But the deeper reasons as to why I read these history books were quite complex. And then you have the older brothers who, you know, do as older brothers do, which is beat up the younger brother. And we used to play army in the backyard in Belfast.
We have all these literally like VHS movies, we still have of us playing army in the backyard of Belfast. And as the third youngest boy at the time, I was constantly the one getting killed in movies, like this just stooge that was just there to be cannon fodder with my brother's evil directing plot.
Sam: [00:13:22] So these stories that lead you to
Sam: [00:13:47] In fact, if I sat all of you down and made you tell me everything you could remember, how long could you last? Some people could last maybe a day, some people can last just a few hours, and some people have literally boiled their life down into something where if you challenge them and tell their life story -this is really interesting exercise- how long could you tell?
And then you need to think, well if I can sit down for five hours and tell my life story, what have I left out? And because I'm telling a very neat story, hopefully, based on facts, hopefully, you're not making stuff up, but is that story true? Now if it's based on facts, it's not a lie. It's not fantasy when you make things up that didn't happen, that becomes fantasy.
Sam: [00:14:32] So there's a baseline of truth. But how true is it? How true is it? And if you think about for a mathematician on a number scale you have zero and then you have infinity. And you can't ever reach infinity; it's unreachable.
If you think about truth around your life, if I were to interview you-you tell me your life story and how many hours it takes, and then I'd say, "OK well that's obviously a perspective from that person, but how active is that person?
What would his mother say? What would his father say? What would your best friends say? What would your teachers say? What would your sports coaches say? What would your girlfriend say? What would your ex-girlfriend say? What would your best and biggest enemies in life say?"
And if I interviewed all these people, then I went through and looked at all of your communications on Facebook, on Whatsapp, on Instagram, on Snapchat and an email then I might get to the point where I could tell a, let's say
Sam: [00:15:41] Imagine, like, the amount of work it would take to actually come up with a
[00:15:56] So let's multiply that by six billion people in the world today and how they interact and affect each other, and everyone's relatives throughout history and then cities and towns and countries and all those narratives that are combinations of all these individual narratives. And history in effect story is unknowable. It's infinite. And truth,
[00:16:22] The question you have to ask yourself when you realize how far away you are from
Sam:[00:16:33] I mean, life is a constant process of understanding what's true about yourself and that's never over. Most people you know have big masks on their whole life and never unpack that.
And the goal of personal development, or self-discovery, or whatever you want to call it, growing up, is discovering the real truth about yourself, which you'll never get to. And once you understand that, the question becomes,
[00:17:01] "In your
Or the opposite story, like a cadet I used to mentor whose father was very abusive growing up and had a huge problem in the home. His story was, I am going to be
[00:17:55] Actually many world leaders grew up in absent or very violent abusive parents, fathers specifically, because the story they told themselves as a result of that very negative experience was going to take extreme control and extreme power my life that that never happens. I never feel powerless.
Sam: [00:18:09] So when you understand this on a personal level you can change so much in your life. And when you understand this as a business owner and as a marketer, as the mentor for people who maybe haven't woken up to this fact that their story is not true, it's just the question is it serving you or not, is it useful?
Then you can look at anyone and you can write their story, and you can
And that all those bad things that happened to you in the past- good things and bad things, do not need to lead down the path you're currently walking. But they can actually serve as a foundation for a perfectly amazing journey that maybe you haven't thought of.
[00:19:04] Your job as a business owner,
Paddy: [00:19:38] So thanks. Before we move on to how we actually write this hero's journey, what if I'm sitting here and I'm feeling uncomfortable because- I don't know- I'm the producer of cutlery and I feel like my relationship with my customers is quite abstract? They buy the cutlery because they need cutlery. Does this approach work for me? Am I going to gain something from this?
Sam: [00:19:57] Yeah. So the thing that all business owners and marketers need to understand is no one's looking to live a story of buying great cutlery.
[00:20:08] But everyone is looking to buy a better future. And the question with your product or service is as you think about this is there's, like, four or five big journeys people are living in life, right? They're living the professional development journey, like, 'what is my job?' and 'what is my life's work?' and 'what does this say about me as a person?'
And that's one thing a lot of people are doing a job that contributes to their life work and a lot of people aren't willing to go there. And that's, you know, a journey that a lot of people are on is the other journey that people are on is generally a relationship journey- How are your intimate relationships?
How are your relationships with their children? How's your family? How's your ability to relate to people? Is that a good point or a bad point in your life? The other journey or story that people are potentially telling themselves is around health. How is your body? Is it healthy or is it not? Are you energized or are you held back by your body? And, you know, then there's also maybe your relationship to money.
[00:21:12] And all of these stories that we're telling ourselves are stories that we care about, our own lives. And what you need to figure out as a business owner is which journey, or mini journey, within someone's life that forms up their entire hero's journey, their entire life story, do I fit into?
Sam: [00:21:31] So
Sam: [00:21:51] So if you're selling something you need to think about what story does your product help someone tell themselves? And how has that changed your stories?
How does your cutlery help someone imagine themselves differently? Maybe, and -this is obviously a very British thing- fine cutlery as, you know, we used to have some in our house with pictures of the royal family on there, it's like, you just think of your family mealtime differently.
It's an experience and maybe great cutlery will inspire you to put away your phones or to have real conversations again. And cutlery is not -it's
[00:22:42] iPhones are just products or computers in our pocket, but they help people tell entirely different stories about themselves.When people see them with an iPhone, and especially in poor countries, it's a status symbol. What does iPhone help you do in your business and your personal life?
It has huge implications for many stories, and as a product owner no one cares about how you invented the cutlery, and necessarily where it's made, although sometimes that can be useful,
Sam: [00:23:16] Another famous example I gave is about Elon Musk and solar panels. They did a study a few years back and many business owners are so many homeowners bought solar panels and many of them were advised that if you put it on the backside of your house, not facing the street, it's much better for your return on investment. You get more electricity for less.
But almost all of them were put on the front side of the house because the statement they were able to make about themselves with those solar panels was 'I care about the planet.' And and that's a hugely important statement to make.
And Elon Musk with his new Tesla roof tiles are -it's genius because just like the electric car- it was the first electric car that was not ugly and made a statement. It was distinctive but beautiful. So you didn't have to choose between, like, being uncool and making a statement for the environment.
Elon Musk has merged those into one thing, which is 'I love beautiful cars, that have a beautiful experience, and I care about the environment.' And yes a little bit more. But here's my statement about my class, which rich people have always loved the display, and my social responsibility. So I believe Tesla is on its way to being the world's most transformative and valuable company because of this. And then doing the same thing with the roof tiles are gorgeous, beautiful roof tiles, like stunning.
Paddy: [00:24:53] If I'm a marketing manager and I'm working in a company and I feel like I get this, and I'm with you now. But I feel like it's going to be resistance within my company for this approach, even thinking about the customer in this way. What would your advice be to me?
The classic mistake in marketing, especially inside of a marketing agency, is to fall in love with your own creativity and your own story ideas, - Sam Cook, CEO James Cook Media
Sam: [00:25:07] Well, the classic mistake in marketing, especially inside of a marketing agency, is to fall in love with your own creativity and your own story ideas. And a lot of marketing agencies I've heard advise clients on how to tell their brand story. Storytelling is all the rage; it's not like this is anything new.
But I would just say, think about it logically and test it. I've tested this on many campaigns and I had one client who, I told his story in a great way and he had a very compelling story and he was very eloquent and great storyteller, but when I switched it, even with poor production quality, and all kinds of stuff, but just nailed it where he was speaking to his ideal client and saying I get your story and here's how to fix it, here's how to live a better story. It just works so much better.
So I'd say if you're marketing director, marketing manager, just try it. I mean, if you've done a story based campaign for a client, which is as any good marketing agency knows about storytelling, go test a customer-focused story based campaign and will go into how to do that, and I'll lay that out for you, especially in the next episode I want to go into detail. I just say keep listening and we'll lay out how to do it and try it.
Paddy: [00:26:26] Awesome. I'm looking forward to that one. OK, so let's break it down then how do we go about writing the hero's journey?
Sam: [00:26:31] Well, writing the hero's journey is a universal construct. The hero's journey is something that was developed by Joseph Campbell. So
The first one
[00:27:00] The second step is to design your offers, your free and your paid offers, to help someone tell a better story. Sales
[00:27:27]To taking a person of extreme pain or extreme boredom or whatever that problem is, and inspiring them to invest in a better future.
Your job as a marketer, as a business owner is to inspire your hero to invest in a better future, to invest in a better story, to invest in a Hero's journey. - Sam Cook, CEO James Cook Media
The only way you can do that, and it all starts with, and as a marketer you might hate to hear this, but all the marketing in the world, all the stories the world will not make a bit of difference if the products or services, your offer, do not inspire someone to invest in a better future. Because it's gotten a lot harder, scams are much easier revealed in the digital age than ever. It's a lot harder to trick someone.
Fundamentally it comes down to, does your product or service, both your paid offer and more -and this is where the marketing really comes in- your free offer, that shows results in advance and the chain of
And one of the big things I want to stress that the practical part, the last part of this episode, is how do you actually operationalize storytelling? What's the art of storytelling? How do you use storytelling in a practical sense to get your ideal clients your heroes to invest in your business and your solutions for their problems?
Paddy: [00:29:05] OK, so let's break down the hero's journey then. What do we mean when we say hero's journey and how do we do that?
Sam: [00:29:10] The Hero's Journey is a classic construct, developed by a man named Joseph Campbell, where he basically, he is not alive anymore, but he recently passed away, and his work
I'll talk about this a little bit more as an example is a classic example the of the Hero's Journey contract. He basically went looked at every work of literature every political movement, successful movement, something that reached the masses. And what causes these stories to go viral, as it were, not in the digital age, before the digital age stories actually went viral, believe it or not. And and what was the
[00:30:18] When you when you unlock this code and you can map it and use it as a framework you can take something and put it into this construct and make it hugely powerful. So for example, my favorite example is Star Wars and -I'm I'm an old timer I guess, I
I remember just being transfixed by Star Wars as it surrounded me growing up. I had all the Star Wars toys. I watched all the movies, and you know, we played stuff. You know, it was like a framework for our life growing up. And, you know, Luke Skywalker and all the characters in there.
The thing that's really fascinated me about Star Wars is George Lucas went to Joseph Campbell and consciously copied his manual, his playbook, his hero with a thousand faces, his books that are deep into this storytelling. And he basically took this framework and wrote this script off of Joseph Campbell's framework. And it was an amazing accomplishment to get science fiction into the consciousness at that time of the country.
[00:31:41] But also with the worst group of actors ever assembled. I mean, the only actor that came out of there and did anything in any other movie was Harrison Ford, who was an afterthought to the movie. And and I always used to joke that you know Ronald Reagan won the Cold War with Star Wars because, you know, this story of Star Wars was so powerful in culture and he actually called the American defense system and the missile defense system that he built, which became hugely controversial and inspired a big arms race which the Soviet Union couldn't keep up with in terms of spending.
His missile defense plan was to block the ability of Soviet missiles to reach America, therefore rendering all the money they invest in that obsolete. So they start investing in a bunch of other military technology and call it a Star Wars. And it captured, like, the political imagination.
And, you know, the press actually, I think, derisively also called it Star Wars. But it was a funny, interesting thing. And he also called the Soviet Union the Evil Empire. And everyone immediately in the West said, "OK, I know Luke's good and Darth Vader's is evil and they're the empire." And, you know, politicians using these touch, these cultural touchstones which are so powerful, to inspire a whole country to follow him and this arms buildup and challenging the Soviet Union at that time. And it is just really powerful. These cultural
Sam: [00:33:07] So that's the hero's journey, and there's there's I'll actually include a diagram of this in the show notes, but there is actually a construct.
Sam: [00:33:17] You're in the ordinary world and you get called to adventure. This is like Luke on the planet, where he grew up when his R2-D2 shows up, and this, you know,
You didn't know at the time, it was his sister. But then the threshold guardians at that time are people who are, like, calling him, you know, there's supernatural aid. There are threshold guardians where people are helping him try and get over this call to adventure and that's Obi-Wan Kenobi. And then there's the crossing the threshold.
Sam: [00:34:02] There's the beginning of the transformation then Luke leaves the planet. He goes on all these different adventures. He's, you know, fighting with lightsabers and getting crushed and trash compactors and everything else.
Then there's helper's And then
And then finally, and Yoda is really important to Luke because he thought Obi-Wan Kenobi was going to be his mentor in this whole journey, and Obi-Wan Kenobi was killed. And it's interesting, you can switch mentors on your hero's journey, or you can upgrade your mentor.
And then you have these challenges and temptations, and it's hugely exciting at the beginning. And then you reach this period where you
Sam: [00:35:08] There's transformation, there's
If you think about every movie, they have this initial heroic phase and then this great drama and crisis, and then a mentor usually is helping you through it. And then you have this, you know, you get-out-of-that-crisis scene. And then you have this, you know,
[00:35:44] So this is a hugely powerful cultural phenomenon that if you can learn to plug into as a marketer, and map this storytelling on to your ideal client, you can inspire them. Like, make them live their own journey.
And the key point here, that I have to emphasize, is nobody wants you to be Luke Skywalker. They do not want your hero's journey, they don't want to know your business' story. Your heroic story as a founder of how you're going to create this product that they may not really care about, let's face it cutlery or some other small product, no one wants to know the story of those things compared to what's really important is, how is this going to help me live a better story in my life?
So how can this create a mini hero's journey in my life? One of these hero's journeys I'm already living, around family or health or professional accomplishment or finances or relationships, intimate relationships. How is this going to help me on that journey?
[00:36:38] And then if you understand that journey and where they are on that journey, then you can take them to the next step.
Sam: [00:36:50] So the Hero's Journey is hugely powerful. And in the West, in Europe we're where we're based, there's one hero's journey, I think that everyone knows, whether or not you're a follower, it is wired into the DNA, it triggers and the results speak for themselves, Christianity is the biggest religion in the world, and it spread like wildfire under the Roman Empire and really took over the cultural life of Europe.
[00:37:27] It's spread like wildfire in China right now. It's spread in South Korea. And anywhere Christianity gets in it has this ability to go viral and it's really just based off of the power of stories. And if you think about the call to adventure, Christianity, and obviously Joseph Campbell studied Christianity to create this construct, but it's classic in terms of the call to adventure, you know at the very beginning Jesus is born and there's a classic, supernatural aid even when he's born.
He grows up you see these stories of him growing up in the temple- threshold guardian. He starts his journey into ministry, and you have John the Baptist as
Then you have, you know, challenges and temptations. Obviously, the temptations of Christ are like the classic part of that story. And then you have helpers along the way, you know the disciples- the people who are helping him. And then you could say the mentor for Jesus, after John the Baptist,
And you know he actually- the Holy Spirit would probably be a better mentor figure, where he's always asking for advice. And then abyss, death, and rebirth. And literally, the reason that this story works so well from a faith perspective, whether or not you believe it's real or not, it's powerful because literally, resurrection, dying and becoming a new person is what we all seek.
[00:39:11] In this life we all seek these mini cleansing processes throughout our life of dying and becoming someone new in terms of our health, becoming you know. And you and I both went through this with one of our favorite health professionals, Ivana Sylvester, who taught us how to do cleanses.
And literally doing these fasting and vegetable cleanses you can cleanse your body and feel and look 10 years younger. Like this little rebirth where everyone says, 'wow, you look 10 years younger.' And this
And just a little background on Ivana, she runs a health
So it's a powerful product because it follows the hero's journey, call to adventure classically, in terms of health perspective which is called
Sam: [00:40:51] And then this transformation where you start to feel on this diet so powerful, like so much energy, that you've never felt before. Day five of the diet you feel so powerful. Actually, I'll put a link to Ivana's coaching program or whatever she's done now because if you don't live here and you want to talk to her anywhere in the world she coached my parents through this process and they actually went through this process of going through her diet and dropped a bunch of weight and feel way healthier and younger. And you've got the transformation.
Sam: [00:41:21] Then you've got additional challenges
Paddy: [00:41:38] So are we as companies always the mentor? Can we play another role in this experience, this journey?
Sam: [00:41:44] Well, you are the mentors, as I see it, you can be a threshold Guardian that just inspires someone to go on this journey. And maybe don't play the mentor the whole way. Maybe you're not qualified to be the mentor the whole way. You can switch mentors, but your product should move someone along this hero's journey.
[00:42:01] You're certainly not Luke. You're certainly not the hero. You are a mentor that makes them initially invest in the journey. Or maybe you're a helper along the way, maybe you're not that big as a mentor.
Sam: [00:42:13] You're a helper and you point them towards a mentor that maybe recommends your product. Or you're the big mentor, or you're like the Yoda, where they're going through the abyss and you're helping them out of it.
And that's really important to understand is your role. If you map out the hero's journey, where they've been, where they are. Your role, and what role you assign yourself in their journey is really important because you can be very clear with them. This is how I'm going to help you. And you can also point them towards other things, other products, other mentors that will help them on this journey.
Paddy: [00:42:45] And this is one of those moments, often when we're doing a
Sam: [00:43:10] OK, so the hero's journey, and how we become part of it, is
[00:43:27] So once you've done all that avatar work, it's about imagining their journey and all the steps. So if we have this construct, which I'll put in the show notes, which was put out by an incredible marketing.com, a beautiful translation of the Hero's Journey into a marketing construct. And if you look at that construct, what we do is we take every step of the Hero's Journey, the ordinary world- which is step one, is now the limited awareness of the problem.
So this is actually perfectly aligned with a classic construct by Claude Hopkins scientific method of advertising, where he talks about the five levels of awareness. And the hero's journey perfectly matched on, surprise surprise, the five levels of awareness of a customer.
And step one is the ordinary world or limited awareness of the problem. I like to think of this as Claude Hopkins does- unaware of the problem. And understanding, is your client unaware of the problem? And if not as a thought exercise, what were they like when they were unaware of the problem? Because at a time, they were unaware of the problem. So either write down now how they are or write down how they were when they were unaware of the problem.
[00:44:40] The second step, and we have a series of questions on our exercise of prompts this, that the second step is the increased awareness of
I call the call to adventure, like describing the journey ahead- the hero's journey ahead. That is actually also a problem. When you become aware of a problem, you know you can never become unaware of a problem after you've become aware of the problem.
[00:45:13] So everything changes when you understand you have a problem. Now whether you choose to act on that problem is up to you. You might stay overweight your whole life but at least you know you're overweight and unhealthy and you know the consequences. But that's a key shift, is someone going from unaware of the problem to problem aware.
People in the United States used to not know that smoking was bad for them. When you become aware that smoking is bad for you, then you become aware of the problem. Now whether you quit smoking is
Sam: [00:45:43] The next thing is fear and resistance to change. And this is step three when you understand that there is a solution out there. There are solutions to this problem because a lot of people think they have a problem and they don't think they can solve it. They don't know
A solution aware is, there are people out there who can help you with this. There are, you know, people who can help you on health example, exercise. There are people who can help you on some diet. And
[00:46:21]Then the next step is overcoming fear, and this is called 'Meeting the Mentor.' So when you have these solutions you become fearful of these solutions, because you know that they're going to require change and you have to have
And a lot of people would rather stay in pain than make a change, even if it's going to lead to a better future. - Sam Cook, CEO James Cook Media
So it's not like once people know there's a better future, they run off and invest and there are people love to be- they love habit, they love...
There's actually a great book about this power of habit that talks about how people sometimes would rather die than change. So once they know they can change with a solution there's a huge fear and resistance.
Sam: [00:46:58] The next step is meeting the mentor. And this is where a mentor shows up, or a
Sam: [00:47:19] And step five, crossing the Threshold or committing to change, is where in business until someone pays you- until money changes hands- they've not really committed to change. And I call crossing the threshold and committing
And on that committing to change, I'm going invest in your solution and I'm going to pay you.' And there's no going back. Once you've paid someone for a diet or fitness program you generally want to follow it. If it's the right structured offer. And then you go into the following seven stages, which are test, allies, and enemies- experimenting with new conditions.
And this is after you start your product, someone's going to have this exhilarating feeling, how are they going to feel? What are the excitements, the initial highs, the initial wins?
Then you have the approach of the innermost cave, which is preparing for change. After your initial offer, people are going to reach higher levels of problems. It's not like they're going to solve all their problems with your product.
Sam: [00:48:32] They're just going to trade for higher quality problems. For example, weight loss. I've lost some weight, how do I keep it off. I've started to gain it back which could be even more demoralizing than being fat in the first place.
And then finally ordeal, death, and rebirth which is attempting a big change-
But a lot of people can gain weight after that. You know I think everyone who's gone through a diet has gained some weight back. The question is, what is total transformation going to look like?
When are you going to own this identity of being healthy not just for two weeks or a month
And this is where mindset comes in, and this is where healthy habits for life come in. And the thing that she really helps people with is going through this ordeal of a weight loss scenario, putting on weight after you've lost it, which is even worse than being fat in the first place.
Sam: [00:49:36] And then finally a reward, seizing the sword. And this is consequences of attempts -acceptance of new life- this is step nine. So after you've kind of rededicated yourself, and become this new identity- you've literally been born again in your identity around health or in relationships or business or money. How do you own it?
Because there's going to be more challenges once you make money, once you become a different person from a health perspective. People are going to not like you
What are the challenges once you have a new identity? And this can come back to like, new challenges and rededication: step 10, the road back, then final attempts- last minute danger or resurrection. And then finally mastery of the old problem and return with elation.
Sam: [00:50:29] And after people create a new identity, I like to say that you really only own this new identity once you can teach it. So this is like giving
The Hero's Journey is hugely powerful. And if you map that on as a business, you just take this diagram and the podcast. And describe your hero's journey step by step. Write it out. Describe where they are on the journey, and if they're at step three write steps 1 and
Sam: [00:51:09] Write their story based on where they are in the Hero's Journey construct, and then rewrite their future. And this is where you can take the story you've already
Or not even you- and actually we'd like you to just do this without you in mind-
So don't think that your product, your little cutlery set, is going to help people the whole way through the Hero's Journey. Your little cutlery set might be a helper, maybe a little nudge on the way to helping you re-imagine your identity. Or your health product or whatever is crossing the threshold.
But they will need a lot more help than that to assume this change that they want in their life; death and rebirth in that area of their life, that you're helping them with. Do you have a product design for that?
I would say probably most of you that listen to this don't. And this made almost everyone in our workshop design a better offer. A mentor level offer for their ideal client. Because otherwise, you need to refer them to someone else. So maybe you don't have it, so you will need to refer to someone else, but they need that help regardless.
Paddy: [00:52:31] So if you're wondering how to get hold of my cutlery set you can click the affiliate link below and Sam will get his 1%. Sam, what are the -we've done this with a lot of businesses now- what are some of the common challenges that people have at this stage because this can be quite a difficult exercise.
Sam: [00:52:48] The really difficult part of this - and this is why people come to us and have us help them do it- is the discipline to block off the time to just do this. It can take many hours to really get this right. In fact, two hours is a starting point. You can always revisit this and make this better.
The other part is just imagining this from their perspective rather than your own. There's a there's a real temptation to write yourself into the hero's journey. And I like to say write it as if you don't exist. Because if you write this from their perspective first, then the next exercise we do, which is how to design the offers -the perfect offers to seamlessly slot into their hero's journey- is really powerful.
So I say that the two big challenges of discipline and time of doing this, a constructs in our workshop -we have a series of questions that guide people through this. And then the other thing is doing this from their perspective, not yours. And if you resist the temptation to write your offers and your solutions into this journey, it will give you a wheel or a template from which to write a whole different, at least marketing construct, but probably different offer structure for people as they go through their journey.
Paddy: [00:54:10] What about I'm the owner of a business and I'm thinking well hang on a second I pay an agency to come up with this stuff. Can I outsource all of this?
Sam: [00:54:17] That's a great point. And I say no. In fact, if you've paid for a marketing agency before, I'd like you to tell me. Comment on the show notes, or the reviewer, or e-mail me. How many of them have made you do even do avatar work? Let alone the work that we're talking about in the last three episodes.
[00:54:37] It's a hugely, intensive emotional three-day workshop for my coaching clients. And they all come out of it like, completely transformed in their outlook on it. And if you're a business owner you have to do this work yourself or find an agency that will help you do this work. And I don't know of any agencies, aside from ones that we coach in our coaching program, who know how to do this. So it's not a common thing.
Now maybe in three or four years, everyone's going to be doing this and selling this as a consulting. And I think that will be a great thing for marketing agencies to truly understand their ideal clients at a deeper level. And force a business, before the business is allowed to spend any money on Google and Facebook, before one dollar is spent on ads, or one penny is spent on web re-design, to go through this process.
[00:55:29] Because if an agency doesn't make you go through the process you're set up for failure. And if you need to go through this process, the only solution I know of is to listen to these free podcasts, and do it yourself, or work with us on it, or in the future maybe there's someone else who will be helping people- people we have taught might go out and be doing this for other people.
Paddy: [00:55:45] What if I'm at the beginning of my business journey. Let's say I'm trying to transition from where I am now working for corporate, and I want to go into a new business area- something I'm passionate about. But it's hard for me to understand that journey. I don't know my avatar well enough, or I just can't put my finger on it. What kind of things can I do to start to shape that journey?
Sam: [00:56:05] Well, start the conversation first. I think every new business owner and this is- actually if you don't have a product, this is actually beautiful because we had some people who just came from our workshop. In fact Wanda, who's in the business accelerator program being coached by you know, Clements, who just came to our workshop.
The beautiful thing about them is their complete tabula rasa- their complete blank slate. They just know that they want to help, that they want to start a business, and they know they have a skill set. But because they don't have a clearly defined avatar they go through this work from scratch and they clearly define one.
And now they're able to say, 'Well, I really don't know how to help this person but now that I objectively can see them I can map these products out.' And then, you know, it's about starting a conversation with them through a paid ad funnel, or content marketing campaign, where you go out and start the conversation with the avatar and find out, do I really have this avatar figured out or not? But I am envious of new business owners for going through this process. Because it's a great chance to avoid some huge structural problems in your product structure.
If you're a new business owner, and you're not sure if this is right, it's actually better for you than anyone. This allows you to set up your business in the right way, - Sam Cook, CEO James Cook Media.
Sam: [00:57:11] You can build a whole business around an imperfect or not-as-good-product-as-you-could-have. A huge pressure or you know huge ability, to start from the beginning with the right brand positioning and stories in your marketing. So if you're a new business owner, and you're not sure if this is right for you it's actually better for you than anyone, because I think this allows you to set up your business the right way.
Paddy: [00:57:39] If I've got multiple personas, then I can do this multiple times, right? There is no limit to a hero's journey?
Sam: [00:57:45] Yeah! There is no limit. In fact, we do this for four personas and it's a hell of a lot of work. So I like to say is pick the avatar that you most love helping, and you're pretty sure you can help the most, and test it out on one avatar.
And once you do that, you can do it for multiple avatars. And we're doing that in our own company. We have four or five main avatars and we're considering how to get a little bit more clear on that and make it better. So yeah you can do it.
I would recommend starting with one because if you can get it right for one- the one that's most likely to buy. Then you can reinvest in other avatars. But rather than watered down the story that it fits everyone, pick an avatar and write a very specific story for them. Go find them they're out there.
Paddy: [00:58:43] OK, so we've started to create a hero's journey. Maybe we've gone and tested them. We've discussed them with colleagues. We feel like we understand them now. And our role in the hero's journey. What's the next step? [10.5]
Sam: [00:58:54] Well now that you understand the hero's journey, the set of influencers and mentors and advice that they need to go from where they are, which is in pain, to complete transformation, death rebirth and let's say mastery.
[00:59:12] The next step
That offer has a huge importance for them. So for us, in James Cook Media, the main offer that we have is the StoryMatters Academy. And that StoryMatters Academy for new business owners is what we think people need to get onto the road of imagining...
[01:00:06] What we provide is all of our video training 80 hours plus video training plus you know all of our worksheets so we
The StoryMatters Academy is great and it's going to take people very far into, you know, you should be able to build a funnel with it with our pages and you should be able to watch all the videos and really become quite fluid and all the skills that you need to start the journey of getting your business off the ground online.
Whether you're an existing business owner or a new business owner. That's the way we
Sam: [01:01:11] I showed up brought in my problems and he told me what to do to fix it. And I had access to all of his content. I had access to a bunch of stuff from him and I know that for true transformation happen when people get through that initial success maybe they get some money in and they have some initial success, the next level is they're going to need true mentorship.
And to offer that me or someone on my team has to be there for them to guide them through, you know, the obstacles and one little thing you get wrong and to Facebook out a Facebook video or landing page can stifle your business and if you don't know how to identify that you need a mentor to get you through it.
And that's where, at the mentor level, we've created this Story Guild which is our one year training program which allows me every week to get on calls with people, do the four workshops that we do in person with small groups of people and really help people transform their business at a very deep level and see them through these periods where a campaign doesn't work.
And not every campaign we do works and we have to mentor clients through fixing it. And that's our job and that's why we're an agency and that's where we're storytelling media house does it. And then there's a supporting offer below that were, and there's a diagram of this offer structure in the show notes with an example of our offer structure, then there's the supporting offer.
Now we are offering for people that can afford the StoryMatters Academy, we are offering them a lower price just strategy level video course. Which we think is not nearly as powerful as the Academy for crossing the threshold, but we do think if for a lower price it's something to get people started. And it's part of the Academy so they can upgrade to the Academy from that point.
Sam: [01:02:54] We think that's a very strong offer and then that those are the paid offers. But the free offer which comes before that is hugely important because a free offer
But what you need to do in the free offer is reinforce to people their problem, whether they're aware of it or not the consequences problem, the reasons why they haven't been successful solving that problem, so this fear and resistance, what's stopping them from investing in a better future?
And then finally the free offer serves as a meeting to the mentor, step four, where you are the mentor in this content series. And this could be written blog articles this could be a video series. I like the video series it's the most intimate way to meet the mentor and to get a sense of them understand their integrity,
Sam: [01:04:11] It's about two hours of me giving a workshop on this concept with slides and interaction with people. And that is our free offer, which we believe is going to inspire people, some people, to invest in the main offer which is the StoryMatters Academy.
Sam: [01:05:29] We're not going to kick them out of the community, we're not going to treat them like they're not welcome. It's like we'll come back keep this in our podcast keep watching more videos, we've got free webinars.
Eventually, maybe they will invest and that main offer, one of the supporting offers. But the key to this hero's journey exercise is been OK with inspiring people to go on the hero's journey and not caring if they take your offer.
Obviously, enough people need to take your offer for you to stay in business, enough people need to take your offer and grow. And for
And you think of the mentor level offer that's the transformational offer and most business
Could be group coaching, can be one on one consulting where you just come in over six months and completely redesign and coached them through the higher level problems of business process improvements a new business process will create a new business, but you have to think of the high level, like how do I effect complete death and rebirth, not making them die, but help them with that death and reverse scenario the complete transformation is going to take and make an offer that guys and through that.
Paddy: [01:07:08] We just had a client we come out whose phone was launched with this approach and he was just telling us just yesterday that the people who were in his three
Sam: [01:07:41] Yeah the free offer is so hard to get right to the point where it will do the work of putting enough people through your funnel at the right cost where you'll make enough money and your main offer and your mentors
So we'll go into that and a lot more detail in the next episode on funnel mapping or
Sam: [01:08:09] Great stories are great, but you need numbers at work and back them up and fund their, let's say their distribution. But getting the free offer right is really hard because if you think about an e-book you're like, 'Oh I'm just going to create a free ebook for someone.' When you create a free ebook for someone that's
Great stories are great, but you need numbers at work and back them up and fund their distribution, - Sam Cook, CEO James Cook Media
Anyone can create an ebook and write some stuff down and a lot of these internet marketing gurus are saying, 'Yeah, just make some free report or ebook.' And that's fine, but because everyone can do it you've got more competition than ever for attention. And actually when you create an ebook you're not only competing with all the other internet marketers or business owners putting out the same thing, but you're also competing with John Grisham, Harry Potter, you know, all these amazing authors and works of you what would you rather read?
Like the world's best work of literature on your Kindle or like some amazing business best-seller that helps you with that or some random guy's ebook online that is poorly written, bad grammar, poor illustration compared to these other works. So that is really important.
Sam: [01:09:18] The next thing. So you need to think about what is the storyline. So first of all the storyline has to work, but then the other one is the delivery and what's the way you deliver it.
I found, just personally, that the video is the best way to connect with people right away and we have so many people coming through, speaking to my team about our programs to say, "Hey, I really felt like I get to know you and what you're about and your sense and that you're doing this in a way that resonates with me, whereas a lot of people are not. And I think you just communicate so many intangibles in
And I'll go over that in a little while on the podcast, what you can communicate through video. And it is just hugely powerful but free offers are hard to get right. And I've seen good free offers
Paddy: [01:10:32] Okay, it's 2017, so I think we all know that video is super powerful and impactful medium of communication. How do we actually go about storytelling through video?
Sam: [01:10:40] Yeah, so the last part of storytelling is when I was learning storytelling I really studied some of the great filmmakers, not marketers, and Werner Herzog was a master class that I recommend online, and I just saw that Martin Scorsese came out with one and I like to study outside of marketing to gain my inspiration for storytelling because the best storytellers in the world are professional storytellers. Surprise, surprise in Hollywood and films.
That's where you learn storytelling. And when I learn the art of storytelling through video there are three main components.
[01:11:18] Three main stories that are going on in the videos. The videos people have watched in our content series, especially the first video, where we put on Facebook, it was just me talking to someone, it was an interview style and the reason we do an interview style video in our storytelling is very simple.
[01:11:39] Interviews are a great way to get authentic emotion and reaction out of people and unscripted moments. And people want unscripted moments. Now it takes a lot of work to edit those sometimes. And we spent many many hours editing reams of interviews with clients, but it is the most powerful end product.
And if you think about why that is when you see someone in an interview style with a nicely done background, and the classic mistake people making backgrounds is they think the background is important, but actually getting a background and then fading it out so that you can barely focus on it and the only thing in focus if you look at our videos is the subject, we'll put an example that in a client's video and you can watch that video with Rory Kilmartin's Facebook ad because that's a classic example of an interview that went really well where I interviewed him.
But the spoken story is about authentic thoughts and feelings and reactions on a topic, edited together, - Sam Cook, CEO James Cook Media
[01:12:31] And that's done interview style as if it were on the BBC. And that that spoken story usually forms the heart of the stories we tell online because it's like a documentary.
And the other thing about
[01:13:17] The second part two video story, and while the video so much is the visual story. You can tell so many stories through pictures. You know, one of the things that I don't like me to do or clients do on our videos
In fact, if you can avoid it all that's great, until the very end. Because it's not about you it's about your client and the journey they're on. But what you can do is you can tell a visual story that subtle saying, 'Hey, this is what we do.' So in our videos, we put in videos of me teaching workshops so we can immediately handle the credibility issue while they're listening to the story they really care about, which is the primary story, the spoken story.
But subconsciously the visual story is OK you can
With the visual story does, switching camera angles, putting what we call B-roll or
[01:14:31] And then the third story, and my favorite, is actually the musical story and this is where I turn off the picture on a video and just listen to it and understand that that actually is probably the most impactful thing whether you know it or not as a sound quality. So editing out the background of the sound and making sure the sound sounds really good.
Having a really good microphone and then the musical storm and we have a composer that works for us who Marek, who's a talented young Polish musical savant has been playing piano for 20 years, and he sits there and he listens to these videos and he hears the story, the spoken story and then he identifies the emotions he felt in every part of that video.
And then he writes music to capture the emotions. So as a director, as a client. We actually go back to him to say, "Wow the music's great, but I want to feel more sadness here or more tension here, more confusion or more frustration." He knows how to find the chords and the tunes that make that exact emotion. And then the other thing he does sometimes is he'll play music for the opposite emotion so sometimes he likes to say,
[01:15:45] "The spoken story is the question and the music is the answer." So the music can match the emotion or it can actually tease out what's coming next. And it can provide previews of the answer. And the best music, according to our composer, is the music you don't notice.
But take away the music in a video, one of our
But there's still the musical elements throughout that in his editing of this podcast. But that's the reason we do the podcast is a
I mean, this episode is going to be almost 90 minutes and most people wouldn't ever watch a
Paddy: [01:17:24] So if you're thinking, “oh that sounds like a lot of work and I don't have the skills and knowledge to do that.” Then don't worry we will be covering the art of storytelling and film and a lot more detail in future episodes.
Sam: [01:17:35] Yeah. These are just three things to think of when you make a video, whether with your iPhone or-or professional crew like us. But always be thinking of these three things and
Paddy: [01:17:53] Yeah. Implementing this in my own blogging is like completely revolutionized the quality and the results of the films I've made in the course of the last year. So I'm a good example of someone, just like a business, doing this literally a phone and a microphone and applying that framework and it's worked really well.
Sam: [01:18:11] I think that's all I got to say on
Paddy: [01:18:16] We finally done it.
Sam: [01:18:20] I'm pretty much. I think I've run out of words of stories.
Paddy: [01:18:25] Thank you so much for joining us on this episode of StoryMatters series, Writing Your Hero's Journey. Sam, very briefly what are we going to cover in the next episode?
Sam: [01:18:35] Next episode is, I think, what everyone's been waiting for, which is how to actually do this as a business owner or an influence or online. It's great to understand the avatar in the story, but what if no one reads it? And that's the great pain point and the great paradox at the digital age, it's never been easier to tell a story and it's never been easier to get someone to read it or care.
So we're going to talk about how to solve that problem of getting a great story out there. Because now you should know from this series how to go about starting the deep avatar work and the story work to create not a great story, but a useful story at the beginning. Something that works, that creates an effect. And always making it better. But how to get it out there is the real magic and that's the hard work. This is the easy part.
Paddy: [01:19:27] Yeah. Super excited about that episode, Sam. Okay, so thanks for joining us if you enjoyed this episode, you can always leave us a review on iTunes. That's always nice to be appreciated.
Sam: [01:19:39] Hugely appreciated, help other people learn about
Paddy: [01:19:43] And maybe if we get enough reviews we'll finally do that so seminar for
Sam: [01:19:58] Link to audio and PDF download of the transcripts of this on the blog page, so just click on the show notes if you're on iTunes or find this on the web.
Paddy: [01:20:10] And if you haven't started our storytelling in the digital age Master Class, four part free series, then you can click on the link, which is also available on that page and return to the episode that you last watched.
Sam: [01:20:20] Yeah. If you haven't signed up go sign up. If you have not finished you can go to the link in your email that we sent you and find the next video that you need to watch.
And I'd encourage you to continue watching because at the end of that video series we're actually going to allow you the chance to speak to a member of our team about joining one of our offers the StoryMatters Academy or the story guild or whatever help you think you need from us. On the odd occasion, you actually needed to build your funnel, we do do that for some select high-end clients.
Paddy: [01:20:56] So Sam and I are going to leave you now because we're off to watch Star Wars back to back.
Sam: [01:21:00] Exactly, Star Wars and then we'll go back for the next episode.