Storytelling is becoming a vitally important tool for businesses and brands that wish to effectively convey the meaning and values of their work. It is based on the power of imagination and relates to the old and very well-known way of human communication. Recently, we’ve picked up the brains of one of the most acclaimed Italian storytellers, Piero Babudro, about this medium!
What are the qualities of a good storyteller?
The best quality is having a multidisciplinary approach to the matter. Storytelling comes from narrative studies, media studies, cinema, radio, television, music that have to do with one of the most ancient activities of human beings: creating, listening to and sharing stories. Stories which are points of view, fragments of reality that are selected from and pulled out of the flow of real time. This means a lot of us, because telling stories is one the deepest ways we have to recognize ourselves through a positive comparison with others. Good storytellers must be familiar with the idea of recognizing themselves in the stories that speak about others. Otherwise it would be only spreading words, growing the overload of noise we live in.
What do you consider as the biggest challenge in storytelling?
Understanding that it has not so much in common with Marketing, in its literal sense. We create and spread stories to grow our sense of community, not to sell products, services or lifestyles. In a few years, this will have to be acknowledged by those who believe that Storytelling is something like: “Ok, since I sell cars, I must create stories that talk about emotions towards cars. This will help me to sell more cars”. Believe it or not, this is one of the most common mistakes a lot of people make when they think about Storytelling.
Storytelling is often about archetypes. Which archetype would you choose to describe yourself?
Tarot card number XVIII. The Moon. According to Alejandro Jodorowsky and Marianne Costa, authors of “La via dei tarocchi”, the moon is the symbol of night, intuition, dreams, reflection, mystery, poetry and everything that goes beyond intellect. I chose it because I believe that all the important things go beyond the “thinking mind”.
Looking at your website we can see that you are all-embracing – you are a teacher, blogger, consultant, and even a book author. Having achieved so much, what are the challenges you’re facing now?
I hope I will have the chance to talk with a lot of people, during academic courses or other public events, about how to use writing and copywriting as a means to deeply understand the present. That’s the real challenge for all of us!
Taste the pleasure of bringing little stories to life
Where do you take inspiration from?
Inspiration, as well as creativity or other things like that, comes from silence. This doesn’t mean that all we need to do is being quiet for some minutes and then ideas will turn up from nowhere. The silence which I’m thinking about is the silence of thought that allows you to be more self-conscious. Furthermore, walking and martial arts are also “my” sources of inspiration.
You say that thanks to the technology we have created a “human ecosystem”. What role does the storytelling play in this new digital habitat?
It reminds us the need to “stay human” in a world ruled by big data and algorithms. We must embrace the Digital Change without losing ourselves in a world of bytes and likes.
Are there any brands that have significantly changed your life?
Feiyue, the best shoes in the world! Then comes Moleskine, you know what I mean.
What’s the meaning behind: “Il vento segue la tigre” (the wind follows the tiger?)
I wrote this sentence on my blog to remind me that things that are similar in their innermost nature are destined to search for each other.
What kind of advice would you give to a 20-year-old self?
You don’t have an infinite amount of time, so don’t waste it with people or situations who don’t deserve you.
What practices would you recommend for improving creative thinking?
There isn’t only one method to “feed” our brain and soul. I think that going through different ways of expressing ourselves is very useful. So, try different media: try to write a novel and who cares if you stop after two or three chapters. Take a camera and shoot photos, and nevermind if you’ll never be Helmut Newton! Read a lot, going from novels to comics. Taste the pleasure of bringing little stories to life, piece by piece, because maybe you’ll have the chance to grasp the “big deal” that lies behind every fragment. There’s something, somewhere, that in some ways speaks about you. Don’t miss the chance to meet it! Love what you do 😉
Thanks for your inspiring answers, Piero!
PIERO BABUDRO – Communication consultant, digital copywriter, social media strategist, professor. Tai Chi Chuan lover. When working together with Companies and Media agencies, his role is to build digital and storytelling projects, from the first concept to ROI measurement. To get in touch with Piero, visit www.segnalezero.com 🙂