“A poor cultural fit is frequently cited as one of the main reasons [an employee] decides to leave an organization… defining the organization's culture through storytelling should start with branding of the organization and continue through the interview and onboarding process”- Physician Executive Communication Journal

“As technology evolves, people have more options available to them, which may explain why [reports] found younger adults to be more likely to opt for audiobooks and the multi-tasking they enable”- Forbes

“A focus on social responsibility is particularly important to attract, retain, and increase the commitment and engagement of Millennial employees and talented women”- Center for Creative Leadership

“The corporate world cannot ignore the demands and expectations of Millennials, who are devout in their desire to associate with companies aligned with their values”- Center for Social Impact Communication at Georgetown University

“The most recent era in audio entertainment… users are asserting power over the medium to select particular content at particular times”- Mass Communication and Society Journal

“Over 71 thousand audiobook titles (were) published in 2020, a 39% growth between previous years”- Statista

“The majority (79%) of Millennials want to work for a company that cares about how it contributes to society and 69% would refuse to work for a company that is not socially responsible”- Journal of Education For Business

“19% [of Millennials] say they have paid in the last year for a subscription service for eBooks or audiobooks such as Kindle Unlimited or Audible”- American Press Institute

“Maximizing success through onboarding by storytelling during orientations, [helps employees understand] the company's culture and values [and] its goals and history”- Society for Human Resource Management

“Employees have a deeper affiliation with the message through organizational storytelling due to aligning stories with their own experiences and understanding”- International Journal of Business and Social Science

“The audiobook market share shifted from 42% digital copy sales in 2009 to 87% digital copy sales in 2017”- Audio Publishers Association

“Storytelling that integrates a moral and spiritual component can transform an organizational culture so members of the organization begin to feel connected to a larger community and a higher purpose”- Journal of Business Ethics

“Three uses for storytelling in organizations: (1) to motivate employees, (2) for education and (3) to consolidate corporate culture”- Journal of Marketing

“Should produce positive effects on key audiences, such as increasingly positive attitudes toward the company and eventually behavioral intentions to support this company”- Public Relations Review

“Online audio (podcasts, radio shows, music and audiobooks) has become more popular than ever before”- Publishing Research Quarterly

“[the way employees are on-boarded] sets the tone for the culture of a place, the people, and the values of a new institution and can have a significant impact on employees’ sense of belonging”- Journal of Research, Assessment, and Practice in Higher Education

“Employees have a deeper affiliation with the message through organizational storytelling due to aligning stories with their own experiences and understanding”- International Journal of Business and Social Science

Millennials are more technologically advanced than any previous generation [and] survey data has shown a correlation between age and reading preferences [where] younger people listen to more audiobooks than older Americans”- State University of New York

“Audio platform superiority was about the desire to use an audio platform that is perceived to be superior to other audio alternatives, including on-demand convenience (time and place) and content (vari- ety and uniqueness)”- New Media and Society Journal

“Storytelling that starts with the persona allows us to tap into these deeper recesses, where the influence of attitudes and emotions is greater… loyalty and trust are found there”- Journal of Business Strategy

“Storytelling is essential to successful branding, since your brand is the sum of all your corporate behaviors and communications that inform your customers’ experiences with your product or company”- The Journal of Business Strategy

“Brands can bring their CSR (corporate social responsibility) efforts to life through authentic storytelling [and] Millennials want to know what companies are doing to make the world a better place”- Center for Social Impact Communication at Georgetown University

“73% of the U.S. 12+ population (an estimated 209 million people) have listened to online audio in the last month, up from 68% in 2021”- Edison Research

“Spoken word audio listening is up 40% in the past seven years, and up 8% year over year”- National Public Radio Organization and Edison Research

“Story-telling is an important element… involving the sharing of experiences and creation of mental-maps of the environment in which people are motivated to perform to their full potential”- Leadership and Organization Development Journal

“Audiobooks have had a big shift in popularity in 2018 where for the first time, “a full half of all Americans ages 12 and older have listened to an audiobook, up from 44% last year”- Forbes

“There is value in a story that is, designed to drive the simulation and to elicit the [employee’s] best performance”- Society for Human Resource Management

“116% growth in spoken word listeners 13-34 years old in the past even years, with 18% growth in the last year”- National Public Radio Organization

“Audio narrative has recently benefited from profound cultural shifts in media consumption associated with on-demand television’s binge watching revolution and the advent of digital longform storytelling”- Journal of Radio & Audio Media

“There are currently about 1000% more titles published since 2011”- Audio Publishers Association

“83% of Millennials would be more loyal to a company that allows them to contribute to social and environmental issues”- Cone Communications

“Stories are a device… [that] provide managers with a form of social and intersubjective interaction that reflects belief systems, role expectations, interpersonal norms and conditions for work behavior”- International Journal of Management

“64% of Millennials consider a company’s social commitments when taking jobs and will not work for a company if they do not have strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) values”- Cone Communications

“The storytelling process yields positive impacts on internal and external stakeholder outcomes including increasing employees’ thriving and meaningful work, as well as the attitudes and trust of multiple external stakeholders”- Journal of Strategic Marketing

“Researchers have shown that storytelling strengthens the connections consumers have to brands, so that to a great extent what a brand means to a consumer is based . . . on the narratives he or she has constructed that incorporate the brand.”- Journal of Business Strategy

“Corporate storytelling is suggested to help demonstrate the importance of the corporate brand to internal and external stakeholders… as well as help a firm to bond with its employees”- Product & Brand Management

“Narrative presentation of corporate strategy, comparative advantage, is more effective at producing a consistent and confident choice of competitive advantage among an audience than a presentation of corporate strategy using a PowerPoint style, bulleted list approach”- Journal of Strategy and Management

“[onboarding] can also aid employees in identifying values congruence which is critical to career contentment and commitment which can significantly impact retention to both the field and the institution long-term” - Journal of Research, Assessment, and Practice in Higher Education

“When it comes to digital storytelling for branding, there is, a more positive attitude towards the company when the employer branding message is using digital storytelling”- Management Dynamic in the Knowledge Economy Journal

“Audiobook sales revenue has been on a steep rise since 2018, reaching 1.3 billion USD in 2020”- Statista

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From the Crowd – To the Crowd

Problem: Convey Business Principles So They Will Be Used – Solution: Audio Theater 

Business Audio Theatre September 14, 2020 28

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What if someone shows you a video of a person walking into an office and sitting down in a chair? You see it all. There’s nothing left for the imagination. All your thinking has been done for you. Every detail has been carefully thought out and presented on the screen.

Now, what if someone says, “Bill walked into an office and pulled up a chair”? Immediately, your brain searches your memory for a mental image of an office and a chair. What have you done? You have participated in the story by using your mental energy to grab those images from your memory and insert them like props into the story. This is a form of experiential learning. Now you are “tagging” the action and the outcome within your own personal mental files. This mental procurement exercise will make it easier for your to recollect the story and, more importantly, the points about what happened to Bill.

Mental Association

We’ve all had the scent of a certain flower or the melody of a particular song spark a memory of a past event. This is because we have inadvertently associated and tagged that memory to that scent or that tune when it took place. Memory is based on associations. Hearing a story and mentally procuring the props are a similar, though more conscious, exercise that help us remember and recall lessons when we need them. It’s sort of like, “Oh, I remember from the story what happened to Bill” when you find yourself in a similar situation. And now you are able to use the principles from that story in your business and in your life.

This is the technique our crowd of students and businesspeople told us when we asked them what they liked about audio in general, and about podcasts and audiobooks in particular. We wanted to produce an audiobook from our New York Times bestseller, The Barefoot Spirit, How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart, Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. But we wanted to know more about why audio was suddenly so popular.

We certainly appreciated the fact that with audio, unlike print or video, you were free to drive or jog because those other media immobilize your mobile device – and you!  But we hadn’t really thought about the mental procurement prop and set tagging that audio story engenders.

Story as Lesson

What if someone described to you what happened to Bill? But wait! What if Bill had his own voice and interacted with others with their own voices in a skit that brought the action and outcomes to life and thereby demonstrated the business principles? Wouldn’t it be easier to identify with, recall, and utilize those principles? Yes! It would!

The other suggestion coming from our crowd was a desire for story over prescription, action over lecture, …and acting over narration. Imagine, acting! So we decided over a year ago to work with a Hollywood acting ensemble, Sherwood Players Productions, and communications expert Ryan Foland of UC Irvine, to see if we could satisfy all these asks. We had to convert written words into audio script, add music and sound effects. We created an audio play where actors played the parts to entertain with purpose.

So, like mental prop procurement, story performance creates another kind of tag or association. You become engaged and interested in the story.

Giving Back

Bonnie likes to say, “Our goal is to get the Barefoot Spirit out to the greatest number of people who can benefit from it.” Our new theatrical-style audio book is our way of doing just that.

The Barefoot Spirit is the spirit behind the what became a top global brand. It is team spirit. It is fun. It is the spirit of optimism that overcomes obstacles. It’s the spirit of putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. And it’s the spirit of hard work and tenacity that can (and does) move mountains.

Join Us at CSW Global 2019!

Golden Gate Bridge

We are thankful to the crowd for suggesting the form our audio book should take and we are happy to finally convey that spirit back to the crowd through business audio theatre. We are excited and grateful to launch this new form of business audiobook at the CSW 2019 Global Conference in San Francisco on September 12th and 13th. Tickets remain available and here is a full agenda. Can’t wait? Check out www.barefootaudiobook.com. See you in San Francisco!


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