Published 10 years ago.
About a 5 minute read.
Today marks the release of “The Story of Solutions” – the latest clip from The Story of Stuff Project and Free Range Studios. In the eight-minute clip, “Story of Stuff” storyteller Annie Leonard describes a set of solutions to the issues set forth in the company’s mega-popular series of videos, including “The Story of Broke,” “The Story of Cap & Trade,” “The Story of Electronics” and “The Story of Bottled Water,” among others.
Jonah Sachs: "The Story of Change" was about the ingredients behind successful social movements — how change happens. This final installment of the current Story of Stuff series talks about what kind of change we should be aiming for. Past movies in our series have been focused on showing the problems in a way that changes people's thinking. But we'd never really focused on the solutions. We felt it was time.
JS: This one was probably the hardest one we've done because there are so many things you could be talking about when you talk about solutions to our global sustainability and social challenges. We knew we couldn't just make a list of cool things that people should support. As Annie says, there are thousands of those out there. But we also didn't want to be too abstract and just talk about the principles that go into creating solutions. We almost drove ourselves crazy. But having worked together for 6 years, we really did have the trust we needed — both in each other and in the process that some magic always does come out the other side.
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JS: Two things: first that people will believe that there is hope for a better future and want to invest more deeply in it. Second, I hope they learn to filter out what real solutions are — those that can drive major change — from distractions, that is solutions that really don't change anything or even make the problem worse.
JS: I think the most critical transformation is for people to stop talking about how great their brand or organization is and to start talking about how great their audiences can be. In the Broadcast Era, when all the communications tools we reflexively use were invented, you could simply boom out your message to the world and people had no choice but to listen. Now, audiences are in charge and they don't care about your so-called facts or proclamations. It takes a lot of rethinking to make the shift, but it really works. And once you do, you'll find yourself much more likely to be telling stories, which is the key to creating buzz in our social media landscape. It's a process that takes time and practice, but nothing is more natural to human beings than storytelling, so it's also very satisfying.
JS: I'm still pretty blown away by Dove's Real Beauty Sketches ad. It's such a revolutionary way to sell a pretty mundane product. And it quickly became the most viral advertisement in the history of the Internet. Essentially the brand has transformed into a storytelling brand. They've created this whole cosmology in which the media is the villain making women feel ugly, and the heroes of the story are women everywhere who are rebelling against the villain's lies. Now does a beauty product brand deserve to tell this story? That depends on your worldview. Does it work a hell of a lot better than talking about how great their products are? That is undeniable.
JS: We're very excited about work we're doing with one of the world's largest software makers to rethink the way the world sees the making of things. We're about to launch a new video about conflict palm oil with Rainforest Action Network that I have high hopes will be popping up everywhere. And finally, we're having so much fun running these storytelling workshops. It's a whole new world for us to actually teach people how to do what we've been passionately doing for years.
Published Oct 1, 2013 3am EDT / 12am PDT / 8am BST / 9am CEST
Mara Slade is a seasoned communications professional having worked both in-house in sustainability roles and at top creative agencies including Edelman and Digital Kitchen. She has led corporate ESG reporting projects for a variety of Fortune 500 clients ranging from tech, retail, sustainable agriculture, consumer packaged goods, financial services, among others. She is a certified GRI reporter with an MBA from Presidio Graduate School in Sustainable Management.