Should you tell old or new stories?

The chief storyteller in my family is my Grandad. He’s almost 85 and full of fascinating stories.

Stories about Berlin in the 1950’s. Stories about walking the Snowdon Horseshoe in Wales. The story about finding a dead guy on Ben Nevis. The wartime story about jumping over the fence at Everton to get in free, only to jump into an empty stand. The story about Everton’s PA announcer asking if anyone had brought their boots, because they were short on players. Stories about how he once cycled from Liverpool to Canterbury.

Of course, if you were to meet him a second time, he’d tell you all the same stories over again. But he’s old, so we let him off for that.

Importantly, the stories he tells the most often are all 40+ years old. Which is relevant to what we are doing here.

I see the same pattern recurring in my work. Many of the stories I tell are 5 years old or more. Stories about setting up in business. Stories about my solo travel in South America. Stories about my early creative writing efforts. Stories about truanting at school to play snooker. (I still maintain that occasional truanting encourages healthy independence, at any age and in any walk of life…)

Part of the story research process I follow is to explore very early stories – as far back as you can remember. I’m not being a nosy when I do this; I’m looking for early threads and patterns.

It’s normal for the stories that sit at the heart of your marketing to be not-so-recent, and not necessarily about your current line of work.

You’ve probably changed less than you think. It’s your older stories that build the most trust, because they showcase the real you in the most vulnerable way.

Rob Drummond

Rob Drummond runs the Maze Marketing Podcast and Maze Mastery. Rob specialises in content production, ad creation, storytelling and CRM systems. He has two published books, Magnetic Expertise and Simple Story Selling, affordable on Amazon.

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