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Speakers – #Empathy18 – Storytelling




The Author

Ian Leslie, Author of "Curious" and "Born Liars"

Truth-Telling: the Power of Honesty

In today’s transparent world, brands have nowhere to hide their dirty laundry. But telling the truth about yourself should not just be seen merely as a defensive move or ethical obligation: it’s an opportunity to make your brand’s story more compelling. Drawing on examples from film, TV and literature, Ian will show how great storytellers use the truth to supercharge their work.

The Agency

Richard Shotton, Deputy Head of Evidence, MG OMD

The pratfall effect and its relationship with brand storytelling

We spend our time and budgets creating stories that reflect well on ourselves and our brand. However, psychological evidence suggests admitting weaknesses is a far more effective way to become appealing.

The Founder

Fraser Doherty MBE, Founder, SuperJam and

The Adventures of Jam Boy. From Grandmothers kitchen to supermarket shelves and beyond…

In this light-hearted talk, 'Jam Boy' will share the story of how he learned his Grandmother's jam recipes at the age of 14, and went on to launch them in thousands of stores around the world.  SuperJam's 100% fruit jams have now sold millions of jars, while becoming something of a phenomenon in, of all places, South Korea.

Fraser is also the co-founder of the world's largest craft beer club, Fraser will also share some of the lessons he has learned in turning his and his friend James' love of craft beer into a successful online retailer.

The Nurturer

Vicki Perrin, BBC, Organiser: 500 Words

Kids are born storytellers. They aren’t afraid to ask questions, challenge or invent. It’s our absolute calling to help children of any background, education or lack thereof to value their imagination and believe in their talent.

But when do we start to self-censor? And how we get out of the habit?

The BBC Radio 2 500 Words writing competition is the biggest of its kind in the world, with over 3/4 of a million entries. Every year, to celebrate the astonishing creativity and brilliance demonstrated by British kids, the BBC 2 Breakfast Show puts on a broadcast extravaganza: royalty, live music, superstar celebrities and sensational stories.

In this talk, Vicki will explore the meaning of ‘original’ storytelling and what we can do to help our little ones (and ourselves) reach it.

The Innovator

Tristan Ferne, Lead Producer, BBC.

Beyond 800 words: new digital story formats

News on the internet is still predominantly 800-word articles, a legacy from newspapers. But there’s now room to innovate and create new story formats that better fit peoples’ habits and contexts and technology of today.

Tristan will be showing you new formats that are natively digital, repeatable across stories and scalable and efficient. He'll be explaining the 12 types of new digital story, from vertical video to storytelling to newsletters.

The [T]heorist, [A]uthor, [S]trategist 

Anthony "Tas" Tasgal, The Storytelling book

How to find your golden thread

Tas will quote from his award winning The Storytelling Book and his forthcoming book The Inspiratorium to explore why we need to spark insightment, and finding your Golden Thread.

Tas will also show us that the time has come to restore the lost art of storytelling; to put the author back into authority; to write less and think more. In a world that is DRIP [Data Rich, Insight Poor] and at the mercy of a ruthless arithmocracy, everyone wants to get their message across, but no one has time to listen.

Much of what we carefully prepare in our presentations goes into mental attention spam: filtered out before it gets a chance to reach consciousness and consideration. This is messaging.

Massaging, on the other hand, understands the importance of emotions, of System 1 and of how we are innately story-telling and pattern-seeking creatures.

The Charity

Emily Murdock, Ministry of Stories/Hoxton Monster Supplies.

Unleashing children’s imaginations

Hoxton Street Monster Supplies sells 'Bespoke and Everyday Items for the Living, Dead and Undead' and is the trading arm of the children's charity Ministry of Stories, where story-making is a dead-serious affair.

In this talk Emily will share the 'true' story behind the shop and brand, as well as the more interesting story we share with their customers who - the hint's in the name - consist largely monsters.  Every product created by Hoxton Street Monster Supplies is designed with the monster in mind - if a monster wouldn't want to buy it, they don't want to make it.

After a whirlwind virtual tour of their shop and some of their products, you will be invited to participate in a fast-paced activity designed to get you to think like monsters in much the same way we do when inventing new products.

The Archivist

Daniel Meadows, photographer, writer, documentarist and pioneer of participatory media.

A true legend, Daniel will screen short videos and talk about how, in these dark times of austerity in the public sector, they have shone a light on his archive and kept it alive.

Read more

The Archivist

Craig Twyford, Founder, JamJar Story.

The power of people watching

People watching is a common activity in virtually all societies, and today technology has given us more power to vicariously watch people than ever before. The JamJar Story Project is creating a digital record to tell the story of everyday life in the 21st century. At present, people commonly share only the exceptional and the remarkable online. But by sharing everyday moments, we can connect with each other’s similarities and with the beauty of those commonplace occurrences.

Craig Twyford is the director of Octopus Analytics, a research company he launched in 2011. Inspired by the Mass Observation Project, in 2014 he began the JamJar Story Project: an online digital archive of everyday life in the UK which now has an 1000s of videos that, together, tell the wonderful story of everyday human life

The Writer

Louella Miles, Writers4management.

Cutting copy to the bone: a hands-on session. How to create impactful stories that captivates your audience, draws them in, keeps them engaged and gets them asking for more.

"No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time." 
- The Gryphon, Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

As attention spans continue to dwindle, it’s important to get your key message across in as few words as possible. This session will show:

  • How different media tackle the same story
  • Why size isn’t everything
  • The role of a title
  • …and how fast you can work.

The Theorists

Asif Noorani (Epiphany Productions) & Danny Russell (DRC)

Who’s afraid of the Dunning-Kruger effect?

Everyone knows storytelling is important – there are very few people who remain to be convinced of its value.

Almost everyone instinctively believes they are good at it, yet we persistently hear horror stories of having to sit through drab, boring, over long and uninspiring presentations.

How can that be?  Just as everyone agrees there are terrible drivers on the road, but no-one is willing to admit to being a terrible driver or volunteering to be retaught the rules of the road, people often hold overly favourable views of their storytelling abilities, and dismiss the need to learn from real experts.

Welcome to the Dunning-Kruger effect – a human condition, not a pathological one, so we are all potential victims.

The Unspoken Storytelling Programme tackles assumptions and myths around storytelling, that result in uninspiring delivery of insight projects. Storytelling isn’t only about the content, but the impact on the audience, and how we can elicit that emotional response.

Storytelling is the priceless skill, which will mark us out from the algorithms and robots who are ready to take our jobs!

The Theorist 

Nick Southgate, Nick Southgate Planning & Research

How storytelling unlocks better communications

Our instincts about communications often lead us astray: we worry about communicating new information and making and winning arguments.

We think people’s beliefs and motivations are built from the inside out by learning facts – but they aren’t. We think these beliefs and motivations will change their behaviour – but they don’t.

Combining assorted accounts of memory, knowledge, behavioural science and hard-won experience this talk will show how storytelling helps unlock better ways to communicate based on using what your audience already know and do.

The Case Studies

- where stories have changed businesses

Andy Hill
Samworth Brothers
Triangulation – getting from a room full of facts, to a compelling story.

  • What is triangulation, and why does it matter
  • Getting to the truth – different sources to answer the same question
  • Getting it all out on the table
  • ‘The writers’ room’ – getting the team to write the story
  • Pulling it all together - flexing your story for different audiences
  • First person stories – allowing the protagonists to tell their own stories
  • Using the story – with our biggest retail customers
  • Using the story – with our senior business leaders

Stuart Chapman
How, through compelling stories, toys sell…

  • Making it relatable
  • Creating a need for change
  • Making it memorable

Ella Jackson
Choose your own adventure:
How to adapt your Storytelling to your own Audience

  • Why understanding your audience is the foundation to telling a story well.
  • A few simple tools to help you adapt your story to your audience.
  • Examples of these tools in practice and how they can influence decision making.