The Carousel Culture Podcast

We work hard to create an amazing company culture. Listen as we explore the subtle details of what makes Carousel an amazing place to work!

EP007 - Storytelling with Amber Ward

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JJ Parker: Amber, we are going to talk about storytelling real quick. One of the things that you did a long time ago, that really stuck with me is that you created, it was like an ad or something. And. It, the visual was people sitting around a campfire and I forgot what the tagline of this ad was, but it was about storytelling. Do you remember that?

Amber Ward: Yep.

JJ Parker: That

Amber Ward: think the,

JJ Parker: image to me.

Amber Ward: yeah, he liked that one that was about. Well, you're going to ask about why, how we came to that

JJ Parker: I, I was just reminiscing about like how powerful stories are like in our culture and how storytelling, and literally, like you came to that visual, like how humans communicated with each other for millions of years and still today is by sitting around and telling stories. One of the things we talk about a lot in marketing is like, what is the story behind this feature, Right.

What is the story of carousel? What is the story of this? What is the story of that? Um, and even, uh, using those stories in like sales and with our customers is super powerful. So let me ask you, um, what, what do you think is so powerful about stories?

Amber Ward: Oh, well, I was thinking about this cause I had a feeling you would ask that question and I was sort of like, I was trying to. Compare it to something else. Um, I'm really bad at remembering people's names. Um, and so every time I meet somebody, if I don't think I'm going to see them again, it's almost like their name goes in and out of my head, which is terrible.

And I hate it. But if I sit and have a conversation with that person, and I learned something about them, like a story that person's name always sticks. And that is not different from a company or a product, right.

JJ Parker: Right.

Amber Ward: So, um, when introducing a feature or a product or a company, um, to people who don't know you, uh, getting that sort of aha moment or connection with the customer, um, Or the end user or whoever, um,

getting that connection to stick with a story is the most important though. See.

JJ Parker: Yeah, it just that's the thing is like our brains are so much better at remembering stories than they are at any other little detail. Like someone, like, I mean, not even a small detail, like remembering someone's name, isn't like a small detail, but I totally struggled with that all the time, too.

Amber Ward: Yeah, well, and a story is something that can help connect you. So maybe you don't share that exact same story, but you can relate to it because your mom has that story or your dad or your kid just went through that same thing or whatever it is. Um, there's a connection.

JJ Parker: So I had this, like in my Vistage group, we had this speaker that was about like, he was like a, a memorization world record holder or something like he could remember. Like you could tell him like a hundred letters in a row, like random letters. And he could remember all of them and it was insane, but he taught us the technique that he used to remember, like a string of letters.

And what he did is he turned it into a story. So like his brain couldn't remember, you know, like the individual letters, but it could remember a story he made. That the words all were like the first letter. Right.

Amber Ward: sure.

JJ Parker: is super powerful to think about like how well are your brain is tuned to remember stories. So we'd read a book called story is that stick. And it was by Kindra hall. Um, and it was about how to apply a star is, um, in your business. So you want to recap what recap that book for us?

Amber Ward: Oh my God. Uh, well, one key thing that I took away from that book, and this is why we did the value stories. Um, you know, the, the company value stories that we did with like thick, it was like eight of our team members. Um, you know,

There it within marketing, you could have, like, you can have a product and you could make it look shiny and you can make it look pretty and say it does all these things. But at the end of the day, that's just a product and in the midst of a billion products, right? So you have to make people understand why there is value in your product versus the other one.

Through story and, and through other things, but, um, the value stories, like one thing that we always toot our horn on is the fact that we have a great team of people behind an awesome product. So, you know, like you can sell a product that's really, really awesome, but the support might be terrible. So. In the end, that product is terrible, right.

Because if you need help with it. So, um, one of the big things with that book or that came out of that book for our team was those value stories to help show off, um, the kinds of people that work at carousel and, and with you along the way.

JJ Parker: Yeah. Yeah. We also made the founder story off of that book. Right. So, um, there was like, no, it was it, there was like three stories, value story founders. Purpose story and customer story. Those were like the four things that she pulled out. So we definitely did the value story, the founder's story. Um, the purpose story is probably mixed up in that founder's story a little bit.

Um, and then we certainly have customer stories, right? All of the PR stuff, all of the stuff that, that Brian helps us write. Those are all, um, all customers.

Amber Ward: One of the things that would be awesome with like the customer stories. Um, eventually I think we read that book, I think just before COVID happened. And one of the things I thought would be really cool to do with the customer stories is take one of our larger customers. Like I always think of, um, Utah health or, uh, uh, tri Oak, um, and, you know, Wouldn't it be interesting to interview one of the patients that you've done health and see like, how was their experience with everything,

JJ Parker: Oh, yeah, that would be

Amber Ward: Like, that'd be like a before and after like, um, that book talked about, you know, the normal, the explosion and the new normal. So like, you've got, here's what you got now. Um, here's what here's like the realization of like what could happen and then the new normal. This is how you, this is how it can work after the fact.

JJ Parker: Yeah, that was one of the things with that book that I thought was super helpful because when, when you think about like, oh, you've got to craft a story, right. It sounds like actually a little daunting, like, how am I actually going to write a story? Right. Like

Amber Ward: especially sometimes around, uh, around software or a

JJ Parker: yeah. Yeah. And

Amber Ward: switch.

JJ Parker: yeah. And for some people.

Like, I don't know. The last time I had to quote, write a story, it, was like, like in high school or something. Right. But she actually like, um, in, in her book stories that stick, prevent PR she like has this like really simple storytelling framework that you just said, it's just that you explain what the normal is like, what is, what is, what are things like today? Then she. Because of the explosion, but really it's just like, what's the thing that, or the realization, or like the thing that happened that made you want to change. Right, And then what's the new normal, right.

So like for carousel, we, we boiled it down to something really easy. like doing digital signage was hard.

Because the tool wasn't made for the teachers, the explosion was the realization that we should make something easy for teachers. And the new normal is carousel,

Amber Ward: Right.

JJ Parker: right?

Amber Ward: Yep. And that's what I wanted to apply to our customers. Like the

JJ Parker: Yeah. To that.

Amber Ward: with patients or try Oak. They had no, they have a lot of remote workers, um, and they're using express players to reach them all, but I thought it would be really good. This was before COVID. Um, I thought it would be.

If even if we only could do one of those a year, but go to the locations, interview the people and like either do like some sort of video out of it or something a little bit more than a case study. Um, because I think people would relate to those. And they're interesting.

JJ Parker: Yeah. What, um, uh, what about like, um, Like you're talking about like finding stories. Like, do you have any tips for people on, like, how do you find stories? Because I feel like a lot of people, if you ask, like, Hey, do you have a story about something they'll just go, I don't know. I don't have any stories. I don't have any good stories, but everyone has good stories.

Amber Ward: Um, let's see. I'm trying to think, like, even sometimes when we do, you know, when we release our features, there's a story around every feature. But sometimes when you look at something. Oh, let's see.

JJ Parker: NA, uh, bulk bulk registration.

Amber Ward: Sure. Right. You at face value, when you look at that, you're like, okay. What's the story there.

Right. But you really have to, it's not something that just comes top of mind or, um, you don't just sit down and know, oh, well the story is this. You have to do a little digging and you've got to think about, um, you know, why people would use that particular feature, um, and maybe give it a character so that you can lead with that.


JJ Parker: Yeah. I just, I was thinking. Mike, just be a little bit more observant. Right? There's so many stories happening and it's just such a part of the way we communicate that we actually, sometimes don't notice that we're telling stories. And just being a little

Amber Ward: Or there is a story to be told.

JJ Parker: Yeah. And we're just missing it, right.

Amber Ward: Right, right. Um, but it, it is one of those things. You've got to sit down with it for a minute. You have to give yourself a minute to.

JJ Parker: yeah. '

Amber Ward: cause I know a lot before there was a lot of times where we were like shipping features and it was like, Hey, this is a new feature.

Hey, this is a new feature, but we didn't really wrap it in anything.

JJ Parker: Yeah,

Amber Ward: And then we started changing a little bit, like the way we, we would push those out.

JJ Parker: Right.

Yeah. And especially like I've noticed in, in a sales situation, it is so much more effective to tell a story than it is to just list off the features. I was, um, I did it. I was at a. Doing a demo like a year ago, um, with Mersive, which is like one of our partners. And, uh, they, you know, they did a product demo and it was just like function, feature, function, feature, you know, just down the list. Right,

And I started our, our demo with the founder story and right. from that moment, like the customer was hooked. Like I could say any feature and they would just agree that carousel was awesome because they were so hooked in by that story. And after the demo, the immersive, the Mersive salespeople were like, does the best demo I've ever heard?

That is absolutely amazing. I'm like you guys, I just told three stories. That was like the whole thing. And it was very simple, but it was very powerful. So, well, I think everyone, um, will like in the. In the description of this pod, I'm going to put a link to that story is that stick book, because, um, it is kind of like a foundational book that we use here at carousel.

Um, it's pretty inspiring. Um, and it really shows that there's stories all around us, that everyone can become a storyteller. And there is a really simple framework that she uses to help you. Um, kind of collect your stories and then format them into a way that's like super easy and just really easily to crank, crank powerful stories out.

So, sorry, is that strict Kendra hall? Um, everyone should check it out.