“I like to demystify story and let people know this is not the purview of artists — this is not just for people who consider themselves to be writers, it’s for everybody. And basically, if you have a message that you’re trying to communicate — which pretty much everybody does — story is really just the delivery system for that message. It’s just a way of packaging it.”
– David Nadelberg, Creator and Expert Storyteller
Welcome to OnBrand! In this episode, host Sarah Grace McCandless sits down with David Nadelberg, creator of Mortified, a celebration of stories revealed through strange and extraordinary “teen angst artifacts” that were never meant to be shared in public. The project, now worldwide, has been hailed as a “cultural phenomenon” by Newsweek and has been featured in This American Life, Entertainment Weekly, Time, The Today Show, and more.
Sharing from his own expertise, David discusses the DNA of storytelling, how brands can start mining and telling their stories, and the value of both honesty and transparency as we seek to create meaningful relationships with consumers.
If the hero of a story got everything right, and never ran into any problems, it’d be a pretty short story — and completely unrelatable. At the end of the day, it’s often the vulnerabilities of a character or story that end up illustrating strength, which helps us connect and identify. This can also prove true when it comes to telling a brand’s story and connecting with customers.
“I think there’s a place for vulnerability in all parts of our society, and I think it’s a weakness of our society that we believe weakness is weakness.” David explains. “If you’re talking about a relationship, whether it’s a human relationship, or whether it’s a company to its customers, or whatever, trust — you can’t have a relationship without trust, you can’t communicate without trust. It is the bedrock. So, that’s the unspoken agreement, and you know, being vulnerable is a great way to do that.”
Having created the hit project Mortified in 2002, David has since expanded his unique on-stage show into multiple television and film productions, a podcast with more than 200 episodes, hilarious books, and even a new game. Today, he works to teach individuals and organizations alike about the power of storytelling as a means to communicate, all while continuing to work on Mortified Live, which now operates in 20 cities worldwide.
Join us and learn more about why it’s important to include trust, transparency, and vulnerability in the DNA of brand story in this episode of OnBrand!