Pixar Animator Shares Secrets to Telling a Compelling (Company) Story
Most Pixar movies begin with a compelling premise—a hook—that sets up the whole narrative. Hooks are often phrased as a “what if?” question and they grab our attention because they’re unusual, unexpected, action-filled, or driven by conflict.
Recruiters should equip themselves with one-sentence pitches that wrap up the company and role they’re trying to sell. Focus on transformation to tell a compelling story—make it clear how the candidate’s life will change
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“When you share a personal, professional moment where you’ve changed in a positive way, you inspire people. That's the best way to get people to change.”
Bring the hiring pitch home with personal stories that show how people authentically live out your company’s mission. Pixar’s films often start from a real, personal story.
Your company’s big-picture mission might be inspiring, but it’s not necessarily personal. You can make it more personal by peppering your pitches with personal anecdotes about ways that you’ve changed.
After you’ve hooked your audience/candidate, you need to catch their attention and get the story moving by animating it with change and transformation. In Pixar’s movies, that change isn’t just about reversals of fortune—they’re about personal transformation.
Great stories promise to change the life of the protagonist who we imagine ourselves to be, if not our own. In light of that, recruiters should focus on how candidates’ lives will change—not just their day-to-day tasks, but also how the new role will change the way they feel.
Companies tell stories because they stir up feelings, and that’s what makes these brands memorable. Similarly, recruiters shouldn’t sell jobs as a dry collection of responsibilities and perks—you should strive to bring the role alive through stories that evoke strong feelings.
Pixar movies never flatly tell you the theme of the story—they make you experience them. Facts, figures, missions and visions by themselves aren’t nearly as memorable, impactful, or personal as a story can be.
Tell stories to candidates because they stick, stir emotions, and drive decisions—that’s why they can be a companies’ most effective recruiting tool.
Research indicates that stories can be far more effective at selling a job than impressive facts and figures. With only 5% of the latter being remembered after just 10 minutes, against the 65% of stories.
"Don’t ever say your mission statement to someone. Tell them all the great things about your company—the ups and downs, the things you’ve learned—and let them feel the mission statement.”
SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:
...by attaching emotions to things that happen. That means those who can create and share good stories have a powerful advantage over others.
Facts and figures and all the rational thi...
Every storytelling exercise should begin by asking: Who is my audience and what is the message I want to share with them?
Each decision about your story should flow from those questions.
Think of a moment in which your own failures led to success in your career or a lesson that a parent or mentor imparted.
There may be a tendency not to want to share personal details at work, but anecdotes that illustrate struggle, failure, and barriers overcome are what make leaders appear authentic and accessible.
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One of the oldest and most straightforward storytelling formulas:
Also known as Freytag’s Pyramid:
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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Consider utilizing the exercise below to help develop a positive story: