Courageous research

Philip Morgan

Reaching CEOs is generally not easy.

A TEI member is good at it. Not F500 CEOs so much as CEOs of successful startups (though one of his clients is in the 250’s of the Fortune 500).

That might be reason enough to join his email list; to see how he communicates given his background successfully reaching CEOs. And in a moment, I will suggest that you do join his email list and check it out.

Another reason to join his list is that he’s in the early stages of a very courageous research project, to complete the second challenge of The Expertise Incubator, which is to do research for a decision making tool for clients.

Guillaume is his name. He’s a French man living in the Seattle area. He does really interesting work around what he would refer to as strategic narrative for companies that are hoping to accelerate the adoption of an innovation in the market. The innovation, of course, is generally their core product, and they’re interested in the “power” of the artful use of storytelling and narrative to help the market more rapidly embrace their innovative product.

I use quotes around the word power because… well, that’s where the courageous part comes in.

Lots of people believe that storytelling is powerful. Lots of people — both on the buying and selling side of storytelling consulting services — act as if storytelling or investing in a strategic narrative is worth doing.

And almost nobody has any data to back this up. Not on the buying side, and not even on the selling side.

This is not at all unusual. 80% of the conventional wisdom about marketing probably fits in the same category; we believe it works and it works often enough that we never bother to seek data about the efficacy of X, Y, Z marketing thing.

So when Guillaume suggested to me that his TEI research work might focus on the question of whether strategic narrative has any demonstrable ROI, I took a deep breath and asked him if he was OK if the findings threatened his business.

He said he was. :) And I admire the heck out of that kind of courage.

Guillaume publishes to his email list about 2 to 3 times per week. He talks about strategic narrative, and the content of his emails might create subscriber value for you. Even if that topic isn’t interesting, the context of how he communicates might be worth checking out. And even if that isn’t interesting, his reporting on his research work will definitely be of interest.

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