“The shortest distance between two people is a story,” speaker Bill Baker told a group of local business men and women on Wednesday at the Sheraton Hotel in Red Deer. “I don’t know who said that, but it’s one of the truest things — we bond through stories.”
Baker is the founder of the Vancouver-based company BB&Co Strategic Storytelling. He works with businesses all over the world to help them in their leadership development, training efforts and, most importantly, their brand planning.
Baker was in Red Deer as the first stop for his storytelling workshop series, hosted by Travel Alberta, the tourism marketing agency for the province.
“The workshops are to help business owners understand how to leverage the timeless power of storytelling and to build on that, connect to others with that,” he said.
“Storytelling is the mother of all ‘pull’ marketing strategies. It encourages dialogue, engagement and interaction.”
Baker’s Leadership Through Storytelling course teaches top executives of Fortune 500 companies how to use storytelling to be better communicators. Baker most recently worked with Travel Alberta, which launched its new brand this past November.
“It was an 18-month process where we really looked at what we’re all about, what story we want to tell,” said Marney St. John, director of brand experiences with Travel Alberta.
“Remember to breathe,” is Travel Alberta’s new global message to communicate that story.
“I really love how it’s about the people, it’s not about Alberta with this brand. They’ve really moved beyond selling products to selling experiences,” said Baker.
The workshop series was a way for Travel Alberta to share their experiences with storytelling and understanding the impact of a brand with other key stakeholders in Alberta’s travel and tourism industry, said St. John.
Elna Edgar, who owns and operates Edgar Farms with her husband Doug, signed up for the workshop after hearing about it from Tourism Red Deer.
“I take the public out on tours of our farm and I tell them our story,” she said. “But now I’m going to change the way I approach that. I used to start with our history — just jump right in. But now I’m going to draw them in — the first thing I’m going to say is: you’re in for a real experience here.”