Ben Kaplan and Eric Ratinoff, Act 3
Using the story/movie Moneyball as a metaphor (how appropriate, since the movie’s lead Brad Pitt attended Mizzou), this creative team from St. Louis suggest that sometimes we overvalue “stars” and undervalue process. It’s generally not home runs or stolen bases that win multiple games, it’s consistent team-based on-base performance within a three-out timeframe that wins a season of games. Yet it’s the sluggers and speedsters that get the big checks. Using a Moneyball narrative, Kaplan and Ratinoff suggest the system is the star.
Their system: Story first, mindset, then actions followed by outcomes.
“Starting with the story first results in better outcomes,” they say. And that’s the hard part. “We can see, measure actions and outcomes, it’s harder to see story and mindset.”
What makes a story compelling? Impact on people’s lives. It’s personal, they say. Growth, development, challenges: That’s where the personal connections are. Build a conversation/story around those.
Moving from the abstract to the concrete, they described how they identified the story of the St. Louis Beacon, an online news operation in St. Louis. This web operation defined itself, created its story around “news that matters.” Their story was framed in the journalistic tradition of serving democracy.
Act 3 determined the Beacon’s story was more than “news that matters.” That story or definition came from within the organization. The client (Beacon) is good at identifying problems. The advocates (audience) define the opportunities, say the duo.
The Beacon’s weekly meetings out in the community were seen as a marketing strategy by the Beacon. Act 3 saw them as a story. What they learned from the citizens in those meetings:
“We don’t need a newspaper, or even a website. What we need is connection, context, understanding, to make meaning of our lives and all that’s around us.”
That’s become the vision and mission of the Beacon. The goal isn’t to produce a newspaper or a website, it’s to add value to their advocates' lives. The goal is to move advocates from awareness to action – to get it, love it, to add value to my life.
Key takeaway: “If your main focus is on the tools and toys, you’re a technician. Start with defining what your story is.”