Our story, 30 years in the making

Our back story

Storytelling is the new marketing

I’ve spent the last two decades running a leading B2B advertising agency in Auckland, New Zealand. During that time I worked on hundreds of campaigns for large and small companies across Australasia. As digital technology has taken hold over the last 5-10 years, I have become increasingly alarmed at how brand storytelling in business to business marketing circles, has been overshadowed by an obsession with data and technology.

This has resulted in a tsunami of fact-driven, uninspiring technical content (data dumps) that’s putting its intended audience into a “content coma”. Digital technology has allowed us to produce and distribute marketing content to the point that it is now beyond our capacity to consume it all. Mark Schaefer calls this “Content Shock”. 

How can a B2B brand differentiate itself and be heard in this noisy, cluttered environment? 

The key is to create memorable, worthwhile story-driven marketing content with a depth to it that reaches out and touches people’s hearts and minds. Great stories don’t talk at you, but with you.

Stories engage our brains on both a factual and emotional level while making us feel that we are part of a larger experience. They engage, inspire, motivate and entertain. They are memorable. Today’s business to business marketing agency may have mastered the use of technology but it has lost the art of telling a good story. Combining the two is a powerful force for increasing B2B lead generation in today’s market.

I started studying the effect stories have on people two years ago, researching hundreds of articles and devouring over 120 books on the subject.

In many ways this was a home coming for me because I’ve always loved stories, and had a childhood immersed in story and mythology. As a result, I have been inspired with new passion for our industry to use the power of business storytelling to connect with people on a level deeper than ever before.

By taking the past 30 years of advertising agency and real world experience and adding a team of skilled storytellers, I aim to draw out stories for our customers that shine with a brilliance that touches hearts and minds.

According to legendary story coach Robert McKee, brands need to stop bragging and promising and start telling stories. It’s time to shift our marketing mindset. Compelling stories connect. Storytelling is the new marketing. Make sure you’re telling a good one.

Steve Ballantyne, Founder, Story IQ.

Why are stories so powerful?

We’re hard wired to experience stories on a deeper level than any other form of communication.

We all think and talk in stories. It’s a style of communication that best fits with the way our minds work.

Stories disarm cynicism and judgement and re-create the emotional state of curiosity that’s present in children.

Stories are memory magnets. They are over 20 times more memorable than facts alone.

Stories are inspiring. They can motivate you to take action and consider brands in new ways.

They can create strong emotional connections between brands and customers.

Stories make the complex simple, especially for B2B companies selling highly technical products.

Storytelling is the new marketing

I’ve spent the last 20 years running BallantyneTaylor, a leading business to business advertising agency in Auckland, New Zealand. During that time I worked on hundreds of campaigns for large and small companies across Australasia. As digital technology has taken hold over the last 5-10 years, I have become increasingly alarmed at how brand storytelling in business to business marketing circles, has been overshadowed by an obsession with data and technology.

This has resulted in a tsunami of fact-driven, uninspiring technical content (data dumps) that’s putting it’s intended audience into a “content coma”. Digital technology has allowed us to produce and distribute marketing content to the point that it is now beyond our capacity to consume it all. Mark Schaefer calls this “Content Shock”. 

How can a B2B brand differentiate itself and be heard in this noisy, cluttered environment? 

The key is to create memorable, worthwhile story-driven marketing content with a depth to it that reaches out and touches people’s hearts and minds. Great stories don’t talk at you, but with you.

Stories engage our brains on both a factual and emotional level while making us feel that we are part of a larger experience. They engage, inspire, motivate and entertain. They are memorable. Today’s business to business marketing agency may have mastered the use of technology but they’ve lost the art of telling a good story. Combining the two is a powerful force for increasing B2B lead generation in today’s market.

I started studying the effect stories have on people two years ago, researching hundreds of articles and devouring over 120 books on the subject.

In many ways this was a home coming for me because I’ve always loved stories, and had a childhood immersed in story and mythology. As a result, I have been inspired with new passion for our industry to use the power of business storytelling to connect with people on a level deeper than ever before.

By taking the past 20 years of advertising agency and real world experience and adding a team of skilled storytellers, I aim to draw out stories for our customers that shine with a brilliance that touches hearts and minds.

According to legendary story coach Robert McKee, brands need to stop bragging and promising and start telling stories. It’s time to shift our marketing mindset. Compelling stories connect. Storytelling is the new marketing. Make sure you’re telling a good one.

Steve Ballantyne, Founder, Story IQ.

Why are stories so powerful?

We’re hard wired to experience stories on a deeper level than any other form of communication.

We all think and talk in stories. It’s a style of communication that best fits with the way our minds work.

Stories disarm cynicism and judgement and re-create the emotional state of curiosity that’s present in children.

Stories are memory magnets. They are over 20 times more memorable than facts alone.

Stories are inspiring. They can motivate you to take action and consider brands in new ways.

They can create strong emotional connections between brands and customers.

Stories make the complex simple, especially for B2B companies selling highly technical products.

Great storytelling engages both sides of our brain.

The left side of our brain is our data centre and loves facts, numbers, logic and order. It processes information in a linear way, is emotionally neutral and tends to be more skeptical. The right side of our brain is our creative source and processes information through our imagination. It’s where our dreams, images, symbols, music, metaphors, ideas and emotions live. It’s more focused on gathering information from our senses, tends to fill in information gaps and is less judgmental than the left brain.

The right side of our brain is also the direct path to the limbic system (our emotional brain) where over 95% of our decisions are made in an unconscious autopilot kind of way. The emotional brain is where we generate feelings of trust and loyalty which is why it’s so important for brand owners to communicate with this part of our brain.

Our left brain takes in the facts, while our right brain makes connections. Our left brain sorts the data, and our right brain embeds it in our memories.

Great storytelling has been proven to be effective in connecting with our emotional brain, but it also needs to have logical structure – enabling our left brain to make sense of things and process information. When we engage both sides of our brain, magical things happen. Audiences are moved intellectually and emotionally. 

From a communication perspective, the key is to start with emotion and then get into the data, not the other way round. If we start by overloading our prospects with facts and data our left brain gets overwhelmed and our right brain checks out. By leading with an emotionally engaging story-driven approach we activate both sides of the brain and our messaging is understood and remembered.

Research from CEB and Google has shown that emotionally-led marketing is more effective at driving decison-making in B2B.