Want Meaningful Stories? Find Your Passion

Want Meaningful Stories? Find Your Passion

Want Meaningful Stories? Find Your Passion 1024 621 Shlomi Ron

I often talk about how to make stories more impactful using various techniques from brand strategy, workflows, tools, people, and themes.

True, all these elements are important.

Yet, there is one element, we usually take for granted when telling stories, but is quite a deal breaker.

Your passion!

Regardless of the platform, when you tell stories with passion, they’ll likely convey your message with enthusiasm and conviction, which can help to inspire and motivate your audience.


Not having a passion for telling the story will show up immediately in the quality.

If you rewind to your childhood, it’s pretty much like when one day for some reason – because of the topic, the assignment, or your mood – you reluctantly did your homework. And boy it showed!

You need passion, emotion, and clarity to research the story, build it, and promote it. Because the message is so important you can’t wait to share it with your audience, appreciate and act upon it.

Only stories you tell from your heart can capture your audience’s attention (remember 53% of all media goes unseen), build empathy, grow trust, and drive action.

Just think back at memorable stories that emotionally moved you, chances are, among other things, the storyteller’s passion played a key role.

Where to find passion

The typical sources in the business context:

  • Rewarding experiences you want to repeat, like releasing a story that got picked up by the media, a project you did and got an award for, or securing funding after an impactful pitch.
  • Pure interest in a particular topic. My inspiration for visual storytelling – as you may know – stemmed from my pure passion for classic Italian cinema and video art.
  • Inspiring brand purpose could be a great engine to fuel your storytelling if you work for Patagonia (saving the planet), Red Cross, or any other corporate ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) program like Coca-Cola’s focus on recycling (world without waste).
  • Superpowers you may have for design, writing, photography, videography, or public speaking – you keep getting compliments for.
  • Winding road you’re on chasing your goal regardless of the ups and downs. A perfect example is a startup founder who needs to keep the vision of her idea burning despite the pitfalls along the way.

Where to start?

The general wisdom is you want to develop stories you’ve lived through or are deeply familiar with the subject.

That naturally works well with personal stories like when you excitedly share a story with your best friend:

“Are you sitting down? You’re not gonna believe what happened to me yesterday!”

Yet, when we’re talking about brand stories, there are a few tactics you should consider to ensure your passion is coming out strong.

There are naturally many story types you can tell to bring to life your brand across your buyer’s journey, here are 4 examples:

The most personal story you want to tell is naturally your Origin Story.

What was that magical moment that made you go on your adventure and start your business or take a leadership role in that hot AI startup?

This personal narrative gives you a rich canvas to humanize the context using visual imagery that evokes emotions.

Here you can demonstrate the problem you encountered, the various ways you unsuccessfully tried to solve it, and how you came across your idea.

There are many ways you can tell this story. The key is to connect it to your brand narrative that sets your BIG WHY.

In the words of Simon Sinek:

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it and what you do simply proves what you believe.”

Product launches or feature upgrades provide great opportunities to tell passionate stories to establish why your customers should be thrilled.

Focus on novel ways you can further help your customers solve their core problems with your product/service.

What’s in it for them? vs. you.

Sometimes your passion could stem from an external story that has a significant impact on your market.

You see me covering these types of stories in my Bi-Weekly News Commentary analyzing news, why the topic matters to visual storytellers, and what practical steps you can take in this area.

Another story type that is laden with passion is stories that fall under Cause Marketing.

These stories showcase a productive partnership between your company and a nonprofit organization to make a difference in the community, environment, or any other topic that is aligned with your brand narrative.

Classic examples are TOMS Shoes: One for One program donating shoes for children in need.

Or the extreme example of outdoor apparel maker, Patagonia.

In line with their narrative of “We’re in the business of saving the planet,” the founder, last September decided to give away all the company’s profits to combat climate change and protect underdeveloped land across the world.

No doubt this example is of the passion chart.

Passion can show itself in a meaningful topic selection, the emotional delivery (talking heads), the visualization strategy, and, an action that makes a difference.

Yep! You can tell inspiring stories drumming up the program launch, emotional moments during execution, and celebrating the results.

Over to you!

As a general best practice, you should start work on any story by asking yourself why do I tell this story?

How does it add value to your customer? Overarching brand narrative? Your motivation? Your community? The world?

Always do your research to validate purpose viability. This will minimize target misses.

As you know, having a strong passion for anything you do is nothing but a meaningful story you tell yourself that results in a positive outcome you want to achieve.

That’s why, for example, you enjoy so much your hobbies. You do it for no ulterior motive other than just doing it.

Now scan the stories you’re working on and look for ways to let your passion show.

It’s like adding another “turbo engine” to your story’s velocity.

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”

– Oprah Winfrey

You’ll know when passion has just joined your storytelling journey when “being in the flow” – super immersed in the activity and often losing sense of time.

Until next time, have fun reconnecting with your passion when telling brand stories you and your audience truly care about.

Shlomi Ron

Shlomi Ron is the founder and CEO of the Visual Storytelling Institute, a Miami-based think tank with a mission to bring the gospel of visual storytelling from the world of art to more human-centric and purpose-driven marketing. A digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience working both on the agency and brand sides for Fortune 100/500 brands such as Nokia, IBM, and American Express. He started VSI to combine his marketing expertise with his passion for visual stories stemming from his interests in classic Italian cinema and managing the estate of video art pioneer, Buky Schwartz. At VSI, he helps brands rise above the communication noise through visual storytelling consulting, training, and thought leadership. Select clients include Estée Lauder, Microsoft, and Cable & Wireless – to name a few. He currently teaches Brand Storytelling at the University of Miami’s Business School. Thought leader and speaker at key marketing conferences. He is also the host of the Visual Storytelling Today podcast, which ranks in the top 10 best business storytelling podcasts on the Web. His book: Total Acuity: Tales with Marketing Morals to Help You Create Richer Visual Brand Stories. Outside work, he is a nascent bread baker, The Moth fan, and longtime fedora wearer likely to jive with his classic Italian cinema interest.

All stories by: Shlomi Ron
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