Reading culture—where stories begin



We tell stories for many reasons. But, when it's for business, stories have to deliver more than making information more memorable or establishing the relevance of products and services. Storytelling for business has to reflect data and insights; it has to respond to what’s going through the consumers’ minds. This is why, as storytellers, we spend so much time ‘reading’ culture. We spend time sensing the firmament of culture—that invisible boundary where ideas become collectively valued and adopted by the masses. The information we read there is often what sets the contexts, or connection points in our commercial storytelling, bridging businesses with their audiences.

In the beginning, this process of reading culture was mostly an intuitive one where we watched people, what they ate, who they believed and what they decipher as meaningful. But, because of our love for questioning and systemising things (anyone who has worked with us would vouch for how much we like questionnaires and frameworks) this process of reading culture is also something we like to give some structure to.

This is where this excellent book has become so useful. Gifted to us by its author Martin Raymond of The Future Laboratory, it showed us how intuition can be informed and how there’s a method to people-watching and sensing in culture. It’s a starting point for identifying what people are thinking as a group. For anyone who likes making stories, creating content or helping businesses communicate, this book is great for systemising the process of mapping the ebb and flow of ideas and conscious observation that are essential for good storytelling. — End


NOTES

✺ 2010, M. Raymond. The Trend Forecaster's Handbook. Laurence King Publishing, London. ✺ Our monthly stories are inspired by people and the cultures that they shape and get shaped by. They come via email, bringing short stories exploring interesting themes, character archetypes and moods, as well as things with stories that share kin moods.
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