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Pixar’s Rules of Storytelling Applied to Product Managers & UX Designers

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https://uxmag.com/articles/pixar%E2%80%99s-rules-of-storytelling-applied-to-product-managers-ux-designers

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Pixar’s Rules of Storytelling Applied to Product Managers & UX Designers
Emma Coats tweeted a series of basic storytelling tips while she was at Pixar. They became known as "Pixar's 22 Rules of Storytelling." She shared the valuable lessons from arguably the greatest storytellers of our generation, Pixar. Emma's learnings from her days at Pixar inspired me to reflect on mine as a product person, and a storyteller.

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Steve Jobs

“The most powerful person in the world is the story teller. The storyteller sets the vision, values and agenda of an entire generation that is to come.”

Steve Jobs

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Storytelling Is Everything

Whether it's telling inspiring stories to customers or delivering a presentation to executives and the board of directors, being a good storyteller helps us make the leap from Good to Great.

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Purpose

Instead of selling products, we need to focus on their purpose and what good it does for the end-user. Focus on the need of the customer and design the product around it.

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Care

We empathize and admire the underdog, someone who struggles while facing difficult circumstances.

When we care for the end-user, getting to know their struggle, we can go the extra mi...

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Rooting For Success

If customer success is our end goal, we need to focus on how this is achieved, even with tough likelihoods. 

You need to root for the 'hero' to succeed, developing a connection and cheer...

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Credibility

We lose our audience when our stories lack credibility and believability, as we lose touch with the end-users objective and their journey. Keeping things believable and honest makes people care.

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Tell-Show-Tell

The Tell-Show-Tell Structure:

  • Tell the audience what's about to unfold, and what the user needs.
  • Show them how it happens.
  • Tell them why...

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The End

Know well in advance what the ending would be like.

The purpose and key result should be the final outcome. Make sure your focus does not deviate from the main objectives.

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Pete Docter

“What you’re trying to do, when you tell a story, is to write about an event in your life that made you feel some ..."

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Pixar’s Plotting Techniques For Structure And Purpose

The Story Spine structure: Once upon a time there was [blank]. Every day, [blank]. One day [blank]. Because of that, [blank]. Until finally [bank].

A story’s purpose: find why you want to tell this story, what belief of yours fueled that story, what does it teach and its purpose. Stories with a purpose that you are passionate about have a bigger impact.

Jon Westenberg

Jon Westenberg

“Storytelling is the greatest technology that humans have ever created.” 

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Storytelling is...

Storytelling is...
...the process of using fact and narrative to communicate something to your audience. Some stories are factual, and some are embellished or improvised in order to better explain the core message.

Why we tell stories

  • Stories solidify abstract concepts and simplify complex messages;
  • Stories bring people together: stories connect us through the way we feel and respond to them;
  • Stories inspire and motivate, by tapping into people’s emotions and baring both the good and bad.

Good stories are …

  • Entertaining. Good stories keep the reader engaged and interested in what’s coming next.
  • Educational. Good stories spark curiosity and add to the reader’s knowledge bank.
  • Universal. Good stories are relatable to all readers and tap into emotions and experiences that most people undergo.
  • Organized. Good stories follow a succinct organization that helps convey the core message and helps readers absorb it.
  • Memorable. Whether through inspiration, scandal, or humor, good stories stick in the reader’s mind.

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Three-Act storytelling structure

Three-Act storytelling structure

One of the oldest and most straightforward storytelling formulas:

  • Setup: Set the scene and introduce the character(s)
  • Confrontation or “Rising action” : Present a p...

Five-Act storytelling structure

Also known as Freytag’s Pyramid:

  • Exposition: Introduce important background information
  • Rising action: Tell a series of events to build up to the climax
  • Climax: Turn the story around (usually the most exciting part of the story)
  • Falling action: Continue the action from the climax
  • Dénouement: Ending the story with a resolution.

Before – After – Bridge storytelling formula

  • Before: Describe the world with Problem A.
  • After: Imagine what it’d be like having Problem A solved.
  • Bridge: Here’s how to get there.

Set the stage of a problem that your target audience is likely to experience ( a problem that your company solves). Describe a world where that problem didn’t exist. Explain how to get there or present the solution (i.e. your product or service).

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