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Captivate and Persuade with Strategic Storytelling

Article by Marissa Stabler and image by Alex-Marie Ablan and Myiah Nueman

Who doesn’t love a good story?

Growing up, I was amazed by my dad's natural ability to captivate a room. He effortlessly held audiences in thrall, whether in a packed ballroom or at an intimate table. His witty zingers and colorful anecdotes, delivered in his smooth, entrancing Alabama drawl, kept everyone hanging on his every word.

My father was an athlete, but when it came to telling a story, he was an artist. His stories made people feel closer to him, to his teammates, to his opponents, to football, to a different time.

Inherently, we all have limits on what we can see, do and experience, but stories are not bound by such limitations. We can understand the world from another person’s point of view. Meet new people. Visit unfamiliar places. Explore the past and the future. And, in so doing, feel a connection to one another while gaining a deeper understanding of our own lives.

Strategic storytelling is born from this same DNA but has a specific purpose. It not only engages and connects with the audience, but it also creates a rationale for them to follow, buy into, and ultimately act on, given their newfound knowledge and interest.

At Mythic, we use strategic storytelling to sell ideas and communicate points of view. Our planning model is designed to identify the most meaningful connection between a brand, a particular group of people, and the context in which they intersect. From there, we help our clients make sense of this connection and how to leverage it to build their brand and business through powerful strategic stories.

We believe that creativity is at the heart of effective storytelling, as it allows us to bring insights to life and maximize their emotional impact.

Mythic guiding principles for story development:

  1. Develop the outline for the story — know where you’re going.
  2. Find and bring to life the inherent drama.
  3. Embrace the aspirational … without losing sight of the reality.
  4. Build connective tissue, leaving breadcrumbs, while also paving the way for an element of surprise.
  5. Sweat the words and the visuals.

Then ask, “How can we make this story even better? How can we continue to elevate it?”

Techniques to strengthen stories:

  • Unfold it with each slide. Does the storyline keep the audience engaged? Play with the flow and continue to optimize, including builds that further dramatize the narrative and support voiceover.
  • Make it scannable. Could anyone skim the deck and still walk away with a firm grasp of the story? If supporting detail plays an important role in making the case, place it in a smaller type to not distract from the slide’s key takeaway.
  • Visually boost its emotive impact. Do the visuals help tell the story? When working without a designer, try full-bleed images and overlay pithy statements.

Strategic storytelling is both art and science, and it takes time and practice. But with persistence and creativity, you can build stories that captivate your audience and persuade them.

In a world where attention spans are limited, we're glad you stuck with it and made it to the end of this article because we certainly think it was worth the read. If you like what you saw and want to know how you can partner with a team that's brimming with creative ideas, reach out to our CMO, Taylor Bryant (, and get a conversation with Mythic started today.

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