What is an Inciting Incident in a Business Story?

What is an Inciting Incident in a Business Story?

What is an Inciting Incident in a Business Story? 370 218 Shlomi Ron

What was your narrative moment of truth?

In everybody’s careers, there was that magic moment (aka Inciting Incident) that dramatically changed their perspectives and started their business journey to who they are today.

It’s that aha moment that disrupts your routine expressed in value change – typically from positive to negative – that makes you question the status quo and start a new business adventure.

Looking at the classic 3-act story structure, you’ll find the inciting incident in the Setting (the beginning of your story) that follows by a conflict – your fierce battle with dragons along the way and the final resolution – where you are today. Hopefully, on the winning end, transformed.

Just to be clear, a powerful inciting incident is useful both for creating your overall business story for your company, your personal brand or to serve specific campaigns.

In this piece, I’ll focus on how to craft an effective inciting incident for your company but the logic is similar for other uses.

So how does an inciting incident looks like?

For some, it’s hitting a problem like not being able to take a decent photograph and the frustration of trying to improve their visual storytelling skills that take them on a journey of becoming a professional photographer.

For others, it might have been their early involvement in the family business of running a restaurant and reaching cross-roads in their careers that drove them to start their own restaurant. “Hey, it felt like going back home to something I once loved.”

Or maybe you are like me, that after 20 years of well-rounded digital marketing experience, having worked both on the agency and client sides for Fortune 100/500 brands such as American Express, Nokia, and IBM, I decided to apply what I’ve learned while leaving my personal imprint. And therefore, I co-founded the Visual Storytelling Institute to combine my passion for visual media and long career in marketing.

Regardless of your WHAT your audience is dying to hear your WHY [highlight to tweet].

Why you’ve decided to start a PR agency? Why you’re running a 100-people department at a global telecom company?

When you’re sharing with your audience your personal story of humble beginnings, it automatically exposes your imperfections, struggles – in short, your humanity.

Letting your audience getting to know the real you behind the corporate masks, opens a unique empathy channel with your audience.

All of a sudden, they don’t see you as trying to sell them something, but more of a buddy, or a close friend who confides with them by sharing personal details about their past [highlight to tweet].

What was your narrative moment of truth?

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Here are a few backstory tips to remember to include in your business story:

•    Backstory: Briefly describe a mix of your personal and professional background; your hometown, early career jobs that will help frame who you are in your audience mind.

•    Inciting Moment: that particular challenge along the way that really got your attention and caused you to decide to do something different, like starting your HR business or develop that particular energy drink…

•    Call-to-Action: What have you decided to do that got you started on your new journey? Think of it as your decision on how to solve the challenge your Inciting Moment served you.

When you allow your audience to clearly visualize your story in their minds, you make it easier for them to find similarities to their backpack of past experiences and in a way make them feel that your story is also THEIR STORY [highlight to tweet].

And when they feel totally connected with your story they’ll be more inclined to take action because they buy into your story that automatically elevates your product among a sea of me-toos [highlight to tweet].

What do you think?

Feel free to reach out to exchange ideas about how to improve your business story. I know your special magic moment is definitely worth sharing.

What do you think?  Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like to discuss further.

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Shlomi Ron

CEO, Co-founder at Visual Storytelling Institute. After 20 years of well-rounded digital marketing experience, having worked both on the agency and client sides for Fortune 100/500 brands such as American Express, Nokia and IBM, Shlomi has co-founded the Visual Storytelling Institute (VSI) to help business leaders rise above the noise through the power of storytelling and the effectiveness of visual media. Follow Shlomi's visual stories on Instagram.

All stories by: Shlomi Ron

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