“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

“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

“[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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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

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

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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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 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

“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

“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

“[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

“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

“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

“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

“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 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

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

“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

“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

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

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

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

“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

“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

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

“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

“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

“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

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

“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

“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

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Too Much Screen Time? Give Your Eyes a Break!


Business Audio Theatre September 14, 2020 19

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The Virus has profoundly changed the way we work, socialize, shop, and communicate. Now everything is on screen! Plus, most of us are spending less time in our cars and have more time for, you guessed it, the screen! It’s a wonder we are not all suffering from tech neck, nearsightedness, and rectangular pupils! Ouch!

Screen Free Edutainment

But there is one form of technology that untethers us from the screen and the printed page, too, for that matter. It’s audio. Don’t watch, just listen. And listen while you do something physical, like exercising, housecleaning, gardening, or cooking.

With SIP, we have all certainly seen an uptick in domestic chores screaming to be done! And then there’s our personal health. You can’t just sit around all day and expect your body to function properly. No, you’ve got to get out there and exercise. Whether it’s a walk in the park, a hike up the ridge, a jog, or a bike ride, you need some kind of a workout. All these activities force you to get away from the screen.

And don’t forget some quality time in the hammock, the chaise lounge, or the beach towel. These are all great opportunities to give our eyes a rest and change our focus from a myopic screen stare to a wider angle and multi-focal length view of nature.

Listen, Don’t Watch

About 4 years ago we started noticing especially young people arriving to hear us speak wearing ear buds. “What are you listen to?” we asked. “Is it Hip-Hop? Is it Rock?” One lady unplugged and said, “Why no, it’s War and Peace!” Another young man said “I’m listening to a podcast to improve my business.” That was our initial inspiration to produce our own audio book. We loved the freedom that it afforded, the attention young folks where paying to it, and the wider audience we could reach with our message.

So we grabbed several business audio books and gave them a listen. Most were prescriptive lists of dos and don’ts. Plus they were basically read aloud by a single narrator. Sometimes the narrator was a celebrity, but it was still just read. We found that approach to audiobooks was single dimensional. There needed to be a better way to communicate in this medium.

3-D Audio

We have always thought the best way to convey a business principle was not through a lecture, but through a story, and the best way to convey a story was through theatrical performance, with characters acting out roles in scenes with action and outcomes, sound effects and music. But how could we do that? And do it well? We weren’t theatrical producers or directors. This was a whole new field for us.

It wasn’t long before our friend and colleague Ryan Foland introduced us to his college buddy Matt Weinglass of Sherwood Players and we hit on a relatively novel concept. Why not perform a business audiobook instead of just reading it! One year later, we launched our own theatrically performed audiobook, The Barefoot Spirit and guess what?  It was selected as one of the top five business audiobooks of 2020 by the Audiobook Producers Association, and was written up in Forbes as “Transformational!” We couldn’t have more proud.

A New Format

That’s when we realized that we could tell other founders’ business stories in this same fashion and Business Audio Theatre was born. We are so excited to be able to tell the stories of other founders in this new and exciting format!

So, the next time you want to give your eyes a rest, workout, get something done, or just plain relax, why not give a listen to Business Audio Theatre’s first production, The Barefoot Spirit? We are so sure you are going to like this approach that we are giving you the first 25-minute installment free. Give your eyes a rest and your imagination some inspiration. Here’s your FREE CHAPTER! ENJOY!


Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact sales@thebarefootspirit.com.

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