Welcome

We're happy you're here. This interactive guide will lead you through our proven Story Cycle process to help you craft and tell compelling stories that sell. Please click on the red banner above to download your field notebook. You'll write your story in the interactive PDF as you follow this guide. Or you can simply use a pen and paper. 

We've learned the best way to teach the Story Cycle process is to use it first to author your personal narrative. Once completed, you will see how you can use the Story Cycle to write your brand's story, understand your organization's story, appreciate your customer's story, and create presentations and campaigns that connect with your audiences like never before. 

Learning objectives

This course will help you...

  1. Create a compelling personal story that connects your shared beliefs and values with your audiences to help move them to action
  2. Gain a greater understanding of universal story structure and how to use it to advance your missions further, faster
  3. Appreciate the Story Cycle in the journeys of others so you can weave your stories with theirs to create lasting bonds

Each of the 10 chapters of the Story Cycle is designed in true story fashion: with a beginning, middle and end. We will introduce the concept of each chapter and the step it represents in the Story Cycle process, feature videos and resources to underscore the idea, and close with thought starters to help you author this particular part of your story.

The origin of the Story Cycle

In chapter 1, we ask you to set the stage for your story. So it only seems fair to tell you about our backstory. My name is Park Howell and I founded our agency, Park&Co, to ignite the growth of purpose-driven people, products companies and causes through the power of storytelling. 

Park&Co has been in the advertising business for 20 years, and we have celebrated many successes turning award-winning campaigns into meaningful movements that matter.

But, disruptive social and technological forces have impacted how customers choose to communicate and engage with brands. The influence of mass media no longer works, because the masses have become the media.

Therefore, we have found that the ancient power of storytelling has never been more essential to connect people and create abundance for the greater good.

While technology has given us all global reach with our messages, it's still the ancient bewitchery of storytelling that connects us with one another. We have distilled the 10-step Story Cycle from the timeless narrative structure of the ancients, were inspired by the story artists of Hollywood, influenced by masters of persuasion, guided by trend seers, and informed by how the mind grapples for meaning.

"Your life is the fruit of your own doing."
Joseph Campbell

Our proven process is a hybrid of American mythologist Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, or monomyth, which is a universal story structure found in works from Aristotle to the Apostles to Shakespeare to Spielberg to Rowling to Red Bull.

Once you finish this course, you will see the Hero's Journey appear everywhere in your life. For example, watch this animated short by TEDed on how the Hero's Journey is the structure for our most popular movies.

"What Makes a Hero" by Matthew Winkler for TEDed

Can you see how this story progression has played out in your life, too?

Here's a quick exercise: Think about your last major accomplishment. Now, relive that journey backwards. Start with the end, your success, and recount every major step you took to achieve it. You may be surprised to see the Hero's Journey appear right before your eyes as you recall the trials you endured to accomplish your goal.

Harness your true superpower

The stories we watch, read and listen to command our rapt attention because we live them every day. Stories mirror life. They help us make meaning out of the madness of being alive. And when you use this primal structure to architect your stories, you will connect with your audiences like never before. 

Story is the only true superpower you possess. Use it to...

  • Better understand your own personal/professional story
  • Appreciate the journeys of the people around you
  • Empathize and connect with your core customers
  • Make sense of your organization’s trajectory
  • Determine your brand’s precise position in the marketplace
  • Reveal the authentic brand promise that resonates with your shareholders, stakeholders, employees and customers
  • Create a genuine personality that reflects the character of your brand
  • Build consensus among your leadership around your brand story and what your organization stands for
  • Achieve your goals faster
  • Nudge the world in any direction you choose to create abundance in your life

Are you ready?

Click the "complete" button at the bottom of each chapter to mark your progress in the Story Cycle. 

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