Story telling - or Story Doing?

I was pointed to an article on LinkedIn this week, which happens to cover our DFDS ship - and is a great explanation of what we and DFDS were trying to achieve. And just in case you don't speak Danish, here's an English translation, courtesy of Google translate:


You've probably heard it before: Modern brands should be able to tell stories. If you want to break through the cacophony of communication in the big sizzling social media pot, you must do storytelling. And yes, that's right. The challenge is just that good stories are not an endless resource. And let's face it: Most businesses do not have a product or service that they can just keep spinning tales on.

And what do you do then?

You change your focus from storytelling to storydoing - you begin to think in actions and experiences rather than words and pictures. And I'm not just thinking about throwing Felix Baumgartner out of a 39-kilometer air balloon and broadcasting it to the whole world, as Red Bull did. Fortunately, there are more down-to-earth (and cheaper) examples that can be inspired by ordinary businesses as well.

The world's largest LEGO ship

A great example of storydoing was DFDS for last year, where the company celebrated its 150th birthday. The year was chosen by selecting LEGO on a large scale. All DFDS sites in Europe, in the context of an internal campaign, delivered a handful of LEGO blocks and were asked to build a specific module for a huge LEGO ship - of course a copy of one of the company's own ships. The modules were then taken back and collected, after which the results were presented to the public - before the finished ship took on a Europe tour and was displayed to thousands of people.

In addition to focusing on the company's core competence, logistics, transporting blocks, modules and later completed ships around Europe with their own ships and lorries, the project also told some more important and more emotional stories about a company where all employees are closely involved and are good at working together. And about a company dare to play and go new ways.

And not least, all employees can now be proud of being in the Guiness record book - and they have got a story about their workplace, which they can tell to family and friends.

Read more about the case here at

And see features about the ship from DR News here:

And it works…

Storydoing is not only a good idea if you reach 150 years or have run out of stories to tell. Focusing on experiences rather than words also gives good business sense. This article from the Havard Business Review dating back to 2013 documents how companies focused on storydoing are mentioned much more on social media and get much more out of their media crowns:

So next time you are hunting for your business for good stories, you can tell the press or social media, consider whether you can instead design an event or an experience that conveys your brand and values etter than words and pictures. .

PS: I have not even been involved in the DFDS project, so it's not a shameless advertisement for my own case - just excited about someone else's good idea.

Have you got a story to tell? If so, you know where we are - not all stories have to be big just to make an impact!

Warren Elsmore