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?

Want more? For more visual storytelling tips, follow our Instagram

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’s mind. The more details – the better!

•    Inciting Incident: that particular challenge along the way that really got your attention and caused you to decide to do something different, like starting your PR business or develop that particular energy drink…What was the actual story? Where it took place? When? Why did it matter to you so much?

•    Call-to-Adventure: 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. In essence, it’s your first action plan to start your business.

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.

Need help extracting your business narrative?

Schedule a FREE conversation to inquire about our Story Making program

Already have questions you want our guest
to address during the show?
Sweet! Tweet your questions using: #myVSI

Shlomi Ron

Shlomi Ron is the CEO of the Visual Storytelling Institute (VSI), the primary think tank for helping brands rise above the communication noise through visual storytelling consulting, training, production, and thought leadership. 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. Along his journey, he was nursing his side passion for visual media with interests in classic Italian cinema (cafePellicola.com) and video art (BukySchwartz.com). Thought leader and speaker at key marketing conferences. He is also the host of the Visual Storytelling Today podcast that ranks the best 20 business storytelling podcasts on the Web. Shlomi's new book: Total Acuity: Tales with Marketing Morals To Help You Create Richer, Visual Brand Stories. His favorite quote: "A story is nothing but a mirror. The magic happens the moment your brand story mirrors your customer’s personal story." 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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.