Story tell your (software) product

Story Tell Your SoftwareSometimes workshops begin by having  each participant stand up and do a self-presentation. At a recently held storytelling for marketing workshop first thing  I asked the participants to write down their self-presentation, and also to write a brief presentation of their new product/service idea. After my hour long rambling on using stories in marketing and bringing about the emotional model of the user, I asked the participants to re-write both their brief self-presentation and the product pitch. A miracle happened!

Every single participant (about 15 people) had somehow transformed their initial quite boring report “I am a software engineer graduated in… working on…” into a life story, like “Everyday I go to work cycling. And you know when I feel great going to work? It’s when…”. The list and quantifiers descriptive language began to be replaced by an emotional, personal and more appealing story.

Below you find the material I used to do this “magic”: I actually didn’t invent anything new, I just brought old and known storytelling techniques to startuppers. The slides are not “self-sufficient”, they are just a support for progressing in the workshop, and they assume some familiarity with the theme which can be acquired by reading the references – or by inviting me to do the workshop Smile.


The workshop is for startuppers trying to learn marketing. The question dealt with in the workshop is this:

How to communicate your product idea?

This is a basic and most important question for a startup, and it’s never too soon to think about it. We introduce some narrative techniques that can be used for this end.

One of the aims of the workshop is to help startuppers describe their product using a terminology closer to an emotional model of the user.


The workshop starts by a first exercise: write down a brief self and product presentation. We set that aside and we present a “communication model” for startups, that models startup’s changing communication needs: the “Marketing Ziggurat”. Then we discuss how to prepare your communication for the press, which is at the top of the ziggurat. The idea of story-based communication begins to be shaped in contrast with the USP-marketing model. A simple mythical / emotional grammar is defined for stories, and a product narration schema is presented. A set of writing exercises is given, in particular the first exercise is redone using the emotional / storytelling model.


Percolating Ziggurat

The link is this:



A great book for acquiring a “grammar for emotional analysis” is

Mythologies by Roland Barthes.

A booklet of links for this workshop:
Marketing Ziggurat:
A rich resource:!/storytellin

Finally, a suggestion: if you are a software developer  / startupper / marketer why not take a creative writing course? If my thesis is correct, this will be more useful than any traditional marketing course.


If you read Italian, a great book on this theme is this: Story Selling by Andrea Fontana.

One Response to “Story tell your (software) product”
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  1. […] è uno che parla bene e razzola pure bene e quindi ha ovviamente già scritto un bel post sull’esperienza del workshop, per cui non posso fare che rimandare alla sua storia e alle sue […]

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