Start with the golden rule of storytelling: Stories are always about people.

And in a , that person or group of people are out in a sailboat on the rocky, stormy seas of conflict.

They're facing a challenge of some sort and what they want is to get to the safe port of .

So a good moves from conflict to .

Too many marketers try to sell the conflict. Insurance companies show wrecked cars and burned houses. Anti-tobacco campaigns show yellow teeth and black lungs.

But consumers—and audiences—are shopping for . Show them a confident driver or an older person finishing a running race or playing with their grandchildren.

It's interesting that we use the words “deep” or “shallow” to describe people and stories. In Spanish, the word for deep is profundo which sounds a lot like profound.

If the is too shallow—if the conflict lacks authenticity—the sailboat will run aground. What people really care about relates to survival: food, love, shelter, sex, status, safety, family, community.

Even lack of money is not a truly authentic conflict. Keep asking “Why?”

“Why do we need money?”

“To feed our children, buy life-saving medicine, or impress a prospective love interest.”

Those are authentic challenges—the third element.

And the fourth element? What does a sailboat need to move from point A to point B? From conflict to transformation?


An invisible, powerful, magical force.

Magic is the fourth element.

Your magic could be your talent, your team, your , your insight, your education, your specialized equipment—anything that makes you uniquely qualified to guide that ship from conflict to transformation.

And that's ™—a simple way to put together stories that connect, engage, and transform!