A short manual for storytelling for Start-ups: From core story to content strategy

“I call myself a Story-Architect.” Christian Riedel builds stories for a living and helps start-ups and innovators to use the power of stories for their content strategies.  Riedel tells the participants in a great workshop how to make people trust your brand with the use of storytelling.

“For start-ups, daily bussiness sometimes feels like ‘snafu’ – situation normal, all fucked up. ”, he tells the participants right away, “As a start-up, you always have new challenges to face.” According to Riedel, every new step while building your company confronts you with new problems: After having a crazy, new idea, you have to find supporters. When you have found supporters, the next problem is to accredit investors. After finding investors, you need to define your product. Then you need a marketing budget. When you have that, you also have a growing team that needs alignment. The last challenge is facing arising competitors – and for that, you need a brand story. You need the power of storytelling because “It’s your story that makes you special. When you have a core story, everything else gets easier.” Investors do not only invest in a product but in a story as well. The Start-up idea may change, so they mainly invest in the people who run it.

Christian Riedel Workshop

Christian Riedel uses lively images to illustrate his workshop. With examples from Star Trek, Breaking Bad and Star Wars the participants really enjoyed his workshop.

Christian Riedel starts the group work part by using Simon Sinnek’s “Golden circle” to teach the workshop participants how to find their core story: The first question you have to answer about your brand is “why”. Why do you do what you do? The next step is to make a plan, the “how”. The last question is “what”. Riedler uses true-to-life examples to illustrate the concepts he introduces: “We are a brand and we want to help boys get laid – that’s our “why”, and with what? By sellling them a deodorant.” After using this model for their own ideas in group work, the participants discuss what the model adds to helps them with start-up storytelling.

“It helps you find problems and weak spots.”, one participant remarks. Another one adds: “It’s difficult to find the right level on the “why” questions, like, do you want to change the world?” Riedel confirms these statements. “The problem is that this model gives you fuzzy ideas, you come up with possible effects but not with goals. But it helps you reframe your actions into a consistent story.”

The workshop then went further towards a more structured approach with the core-story canvas – a tool that Riedel uses and which is still in development.
Christian Riedel ends his storytelling start-up workshop with another thing that involves the participants, too: they have to add the sound effects to a story he tells.

Riedel lets the workshop end with a story. The participants have to accompany his story with loud "Wow's", "Boom's" and "Ahhh's".  English Translation: "Thanks for the great workshop at #csforum14 @mindcaffeine We had everything from Wow, Boom and Ahh ..."

The participants have to accompany Riedel’s story with loud “Wow’s”, “Boom’s” and “Ahhh’s”.
English Translation: “Thanks for the great workshop at #csforum14 @mindcaffeine We had everything including Wow, Boom and Ahh …”

Written by Gina Kliche (@hey_gina_k)

4 thoughts on “A short manual for storytelling for Start-ups: From core story to content strategy

  1. Hi there.

    Perhaps I need to work on my english language skills. It’just that I haven’t said “the start up concept is a fu** up” – I said that for start-ups daily bussiness sometimes feel like ‘snafu’. And that a core story (the story that tells why the company exists) helps to overcome those challenges.

    And we started in the workshop with the Golden circle by Sinnek and then went further towards a more structured approach with the core-story canvas. A tool that I use and which is still in development.

    And just a final remark: I work freelance. ;-)

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