New Thinking Starts With An Old Tradition


We believe leaders at most companies aspire to some degree of innovation; be it with a new product, service or experience. The challenge with driving real innovation, however, is it often requires an organization to shift to a new way of thinking, followed by new ways of working. Meaningful innovation demands change from within, which creates two problems:

Leadership faces an engagement challenge. Business leaders may have line of sight to strategic opportunities to innovate, but generating buy-in at the implementation level to rationale and changes associated with innovation can be difficult; particularly in the largest of organizations. A company cannot innovate without the buy-in of its employees.

Internal audiences are fatigued by corporate communications. PowerPoints and their counterparts are not compelling enough to engage internal audiences because they are so pervasive and largely considered white noise. Data and analytics, while appealing to business leaders, lack the details and emotional pull to engage the broader organization. The net result is leadership cannot generate the buy-in needed if their message cannot break through the white noise.

At STORYLINE, we are using customer stories to deliver new ways of thinking and unlock new ways of working. The power of storytelling has been known for centuries and yet research into customers has largely gone away from it in favor of analytics and structured data. Here are the reasons to believe in customer stories as they pertain to customer research:


Not only is empathy the centerpiece of our in-depth approach to understanding people, it is critical to driving engagement with the content resulting from our work. For some of our clients, experiencing their customer's world first-hand during a ride-a-long to a contextual interview is enough to emotionally connect with the heart of the matter. The majority of stakeholders cannot break away from their day-to-day activities, however, so that emotional connection can not be generated in the same manner. For the majority, empathy needs a vessel and we generate it through customer stories. Check out a case study for an example.


Employee engagement is paramount to achieving success in business innovation. Stories can connect employees with their customers in ways they have never experienced before. We take great care in crafting the delivery of our content to ensure the highest levels of engagement possible. Check out a case study for an example.


Stories establish a level of credibility with the audience that helps foster alignment among internal teams. Unlike surveys, they can give us a rich picture of the 'why' behind customer attitude and behaviors. We base the foundation for our stories in the voice of the customer which establishes a degree of rigor that is unmatched and further lends to the credibility of the content we generate. Check out a case study for an example.


Once you accept the power of storytelling for customer research, it opens new doors into presenting insights in compelling ways. Our charge is to make our content as sticky as possible, because it matters to those who shared their stories with us and to those evangelizing new ways of thinking and ways of working within their organization. Check out a case study for an example.