“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“[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

“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

“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

“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

“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 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

“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

“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

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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“[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

“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

“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

“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

“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

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

“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

“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

“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

“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

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

“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

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

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

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

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

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The Audiobook Publishers Association Recognizes Business Audio Theatre

Business Audio Theatre September 14, 2020 23

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Bridging The Gap

Stephen King was there for a special award of recognition. Michele Obama, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and other Hollywood stars were lauded for their narrations. And Michael and Bonnie were there to accept their medallion for Finalist in the Business/Personal Development category!

That’s right! The Barefoot Spirit made it to the finals at the 2020 Audiobook Publishers Association’s Awards competition!

Last night, tucked under the Queens Borough Bridge in Manhattan, the 2020 Audiobook Publishers Association Audie Awards Gala was presented at the elegant Gustavino’s, complete with red carpets, cameras, champagne, and celebrities. Folks were dressed to the nines to celebrate the Audiobook Publishers Association’s (APA) 25TH year in hopes that they would bring home the top awards. This was clearly a big deal for the audiobook industry and we were honored to be included with all the glitterati.

According to the MC, one in every two Americans listened to at least one audiobook last year and the industry made a whopping one billion dollars in sales. As more and more listeners discover the freedom of true mobile entertainment, audiobook growth is taking off fast.

The APA is supported mainly by the big publishers, so it was quite a compliment when a former judge in our category said, “You guys are self-published? You are very fortunate to have made it all the way to Finalist!” Along with Harpers, MacMillan, Penguin, and all the other Big Boys, here comes Michael and Bonnie’s The Barefoot Spirit, self-published by Footnotes Press, LLC. We proudly wore our finalists award medallions all evening! It appears we were the only self-published audiobook to make it to the final round!

Out of only five finalists in our category, ours was the only one that was performed and fully-casted rather than strictly narrated. We would like to think that the distinction was recognized by the Association. We are grateful that the APA has recognized the value of this pioneering initiative to convey business principles and preserve founders’ legacies with Business Audio Theatre (BAT). This acknowledgement gives a level of credibility to performed business audiobooks.

While we were in New York, we were interviewed on C-Suite TV. They were interested in the APA recognition, but more keenly focused on the potential for Business Audio Theatre when used as an onboarding tool to help increase engagement and reduce turn over. They wanted to know how this new technology could be employed to preserve a founder’s legacy and improve company culture.

Founders can’t be there forever, and they know it. Sooner or later they must turn over the reins of leadership to the next generation. They worry about their companies becoming complacent, mired in compliance, and turf battles breaking out between the increasingly specialized divisions.

Will it be “just another job” for their future employees? Would they just as soon work anywhere? Or do they identify with their new company? How can companies keep their Founder’s spirit alive? We believe the best way to convey business principles is through story. And the best way to convey story is through an audio performance that entertains and  engages the listener’s imagination while it educates. And what if that listener is your company’s new hire? And what if your company’s story and principles are handed to them on day one in an MP3 format?

Having created and published an acclaimed example of BAT in The Barefoot Spirit audiobook, having perfected the process of conversion of story to audio play, and having partnered with a Hollywood production company, Sherwood Players that has actually done it, we are in a truly unique position to offer this new tool to founders and their companies.

That’s the promise of Business Audio Theatre and that’s why the audiobook industry’s recognition means so much to us. We can create a compelling on-boarding tool to help other founders keep their spirit alive and preserve their company’s history. Check it out at BusinessAudioTheatre.com.

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