Showmanship is symbolism, the essence of pageantry and tradition: the sweep of an extended arm with an upraised palm in an expansive gesture; a deep bow with the added flourish of both arms extended to the sides, again with palms turned upward; dramatic emphasis expressed by hopping in place on the balls of your feet – timed precisely to the syllables you speak – pent-up energy that demands release.
Showmanship is mesmerizing but it takes courage because it’s easy to feel you’re making a fool of yourself.
Storytelling requires finesse and restraint as you work your way through a series of small reveals, waiting with the patience of a magician for the moment of the big reveal.
Showmanship and storytelling don’t change reality but they do change perception.
Are you beginning to understand why an ad man might be interested in these?
In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from the California Institute of Technology and Stanford’s business school determined that the intensity of the pleasure we experience when tasting wine is linked directly to its price. “And that’s true even when, unbeknownst to the test subjects, it’s exactly the same Cabernet Sauvignon with a dramatically different price tag.”
The story you tell about the wine affects how it tastes.
The study wasn’t speculative; it was medical. The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) to monitor the medial orbitofrontal cortex – the pleasure center of the brain – of wine connoisseurs who tasted wines after hearing stories about them.
The scientific verdict: good stories accelerate the physical pleasures generated through our senses. This should come as no surprise, really. We’ve known for decades that humans are uniquely gifted to attach complex meanings to sounds.
Words. Work. Magic.
Daniel Whittington’s “Tour of Scotland” – an adventure in storytelling and showmanship and single malt Scotch – has attracted so much attention that Wizard Academy is launching the world’s first curriculum to officially certify Whisk(e)y Sommeliers. In this endeavor he’ll be joined by cognoscenti Tom Fischer, the founder of BourbonBlog.com, one of the world’s most authoritative voices on corn liquor (Bourbon.)
Whisk(e)y Marketing School isn’t about making whiskey; it’s about putting on a great show and telling great stories to accelerate the pleasure of customers “taking a Tour of Scotland” or “going on a Bourbon Run.” Fine restaurants worldwide will soon have tables full of people mesmerized as their Whisk(e)y Sommeliers wheel carts to their tables, open elegant wooden boxes, slip magnificent badges of office over their heads, and begin their tales of wonder.
Same song, second verse:
Angel SkatingTM is a new organization whose mission is to use storytelling and showmanship to popularize a little-known sport called artistic roller skating. You’ve seen figure skating in the Winter Olympics, right? Now imagine exactly that, but on roller skates. The objective of Angel Skating is to help artistic roller skating become the figure skating of the Summer Olympics.
Angel Skating was born last week when Craig Arthur, the director of Wizard of Ads, Australia, was in Austin for 10 days of catching up at the home office. Wizard of Ads partners Tom Wanek, Paul Boomer and Dave Young flew in from Columbia, Cleveland and Tucson to hang out with Craig, who mentioned that his daughter, Bridget, was becoming rather good at artistic roller skating, but that the sport wasn’t very well packaged or promoted.
Packaging and promoting are just different names for showmanship and storytelling.
A Tour of Scotland and a comical comment from Indiana Beagle was all it took. Angel SkatingTM was born before the sun went down. An official logo, a cartoon character mascot, a series of domain names and the rules of advancement through a series of “elegance levels” were all agreed upon within 36 hours.
Showmanship and storytelling – packaging and promotion – are what whiskey tasting and roller skating have in common with what you do.
And now you know what we do.
Roy H. Williams
and the Wizard of Ads Partners
Roving reporter Rotbart shines his investigative flashlight into an old, oak whiskey barrel this week as he gets the deep, dark backstory of Whisk(e)y Marketing School from Tom Fischer in London and Daniel Whittington in Austin. Storytelling and showmanship sell not only Bourbon and single malt Scotch; the technique of making memories and creating experiences can be harnessed for any business. Even yours. No, especially yours. Learn how to put it to work like a show pony at MondayMorningRadio.com
Does Wizard Academy have a master class on storytelling and showmanship?
Absolutely. It’s called Public Speaking 101. If you’d like to be notified when we schedule it again, just email Daniel@WizardAcademy.org and put Notify Public Speaking 101 in the subject line. I’m sure he’d also love to have your name and stuff if you’re willing. Don’t worry. He won’t ever give you away to anyone. Never.