What’s Your Story?

Have you ever heard of Cal Fussman? If you haven’t, let me introduce you…

Cal is a genius storyteller. As a reporter, he’s interviewed some of the most important people of our generation, including Muhammad Ali, Kobe Bryant, Mikhail Gorbachev, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Dr. Steven Gundry, Tim Ferriss, James Altucher, and Seth Godin.

But the narratives he tells from all of those interviews are not the most impressive part of his resume.

  • What if I told you that Cal went toe-to-toe with boxing legend Julio Caesar Chavez when Chavez was 87–0 (including 75 knockouts!) and the junior welterweight champion of the world?
  • What if I told you that Cal Fussman has breakfast every morning with the legendary Larry King?
  • And what if you knew that Cal became a wine sommelier at the legendary World Trade Center restaurant, “Windows on the World,” right before the terrorist attack of 9/11?



Which gets us to the point of today — stories that grab attention.

There is no doubt in my mind we are in the midst of the most disruptive economic moment in human history. I believe there is one marketing strategy that will not be disrupted and is more important than anything else you can do: storytelling.

Let me tell you how we do it in politics:

I was once running a race for a Republican congressional candidate. She was brilliant, charismatic, had a ton of wonderful ideas to share with the voters in her district — and she knew these ideas would benefit her community.

She wanted to talk about lowering taxes, fighting gun regulations, reducing government waste, and giving a helping hand to the bottom 10% of society.

The first thing I instructed her to do was take a scientific poll in the district. We had to know what the voters cared about, and if the candidate’s ideas were in alignment with those voters.

Guess what we found?

The voters were worried about economic instability, overwhelmed by government bailouts and their takeover of the healthcare industry. Most of all, they were nervous about their kids’ future.

Guess what they didn’t want to talk about? Lowering taxes or guns.

So we re-framed the candidate’s story to align with the voters. Instead of advocating for lower taxes, she highlighted the smaller role government should play in people’s lives — and how that kept more money in their pockets. And she stressed free-market solutions to get the government out of healthcare.

She told her story with compassion and love. It came from her heart.

See the nuance?

The candidate stayed true to her values, but we tweaked the “frame” based on the scientific data we discovered about the voters’ concerns.

She won the election.

So, here’s how storytelling can play a role in your marketing…

When I started my corporate marketing agency, Win BIG Media, my approach was simple: When you take a company’s customer data (or target audience) and apply political marketing principles to it, you fill the prescription for customer conversion and a much faster ROI.

But something was missing in our corporate work that would take our clients to even higher levels. I knew it. My clients knew it too.

And then I had a breakthrough…I met Cal Fussman.

Cal showed me that by taking a company’s customer data and then using those insights to teach business owners how to tell an amazing connective story — it will resonate 10x more with their customer base (and convert sales at a faster pace).

So I’ve started introducing Cal to my clients, and his storytelling process is blowing their minds…and improving their bottom lines even more.

You see, connective storytelling is not going to be disrupted by AI or new technologies. Ironically, even consumer data (and common sense) shows that we crave human connection - and great storytelling is the ultimate drug for all of us.

So even if you’re not in the ring against a world champion, or having breakfast with Larry King — you do have a story to tell. Finding and communicating that must be a top priority.

BTW, you are not alone on this mission. Here are a few takeaways:

  1. Are you using the powerful marketing formula of data + storytelling? If not, invest in a deep data dive on your customers (target market) or hack it — conduct customer surveys (i.e. Survey Monkey) and do workshops with your team on storytelling. Bottom line, you must do something to improve your marketing growth outcomes and crush your competition.
  2. Interested in having Cal come to your office and teach you his world-class storytelling ideas? Go here: www.calfussman.com/speaking
  3. Don’t have all the money in the world to spend on training your team to tell their best stories? Listen to Cal’s excellent and highly-rated podcast: Big Questions with Cal Fussman — here’s a link to our episode.

P.S. — When he’s not acting as the VP of Advisors Excel — the largest independent insurance brokerage company in the US — Brad Johnson is sharing his “blueprint for success” through his Elite Advisor Blueprint podcast. We had an amazing conversation about political marketing strategies and tactics that have been proven to work for financial advisors. If you are a financial advisor, you don’t want to miss these ideas. Check out the interview here.

P.P.S. — If you know of anyone that will enjoy these types of writings, have them subscribe at PhillipStutts.com or just email me at ps@phillipstutts.com and I’ll add them to the list.