The Power of Storytelling in the Workplace

Stories are contagious. The easiest way to get a story is to tell one.

The thought of “where to begin” is our clients’ number one roadblock to getting started.  Where on earth am I going to find compelling, relevant stories to send off into the universe? This is why when one of our clients hire us, be it a business owner, an HR manager, or the founder of a non-profit, the first story we help tell is their very own. There is a ton of research out there to support this theory of the viral nature of storytelling, but we are going to post a compelling article in the body of this post that you should definitely check out.   

If we are going to capture genuine stories with real emotion for our clients, our first step is to make sure trust exists within our client’s culture.  

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For example, say you are a hiring manager who wants to use storytelling in their recruiting and retention efforts.  You’re probably going to want to use your own employees’ stories to establish a connection with perspective employees. The power of sharing stories within the workplace is enlightening. One company figured this out and began to have their team members share their own stories at team meetings. This soon became a competition of who expressed the company’s values the best!

The Ritz Carlton Experience

At team meetings at Ritz Carlton the hotel staff were encouraged to share a story from the day where they went above and beyond for a guest or another co-worker. Simply by sharing their own stories with their co-workers they began to form stronger relationships within their workplace and the companies values and messages were something to brag about rather than be forced to listen to in a presentation.

If you want to get your message across to your employees, let them help you by sharing how they live by those values. As you begin to publicly acknowledge the success of these people more and more employees will follow suit!


That's great but I don't know any great stories.

So where do we find great stories? It’s simple.  We start with you.  If you want real genuine stories from your employees, you need to tell a real, genuine, story about yourself.  About your VP of human resources, your company’s founder, about the employee that everyone looks up to, who has a real connection to your business’s culture and values. 

So, what’s your story?  Where can you start to inspire your colleagues, your volunteers or your clients to share their own experiences, challenges and triumphs.  And if you need any help figuring out how to tell your story you can reach out to us, the experts.

5 Reasons Why You Should Consider Retelling Your Story in 2018

When you think of your company or organization’s brand story, what do you think of? A mission statement? Branded advertisements? Your upper management’s vision for company growth? If any of those three listed answers were your response, it may be time to rethink the way your company is presenting itself to its customers in the new year. There are countless number of ways to tell your company’s story, but we believe that the most effective one is through video marketing. Read on to find out why:

  1. Emotions dictate decisions. If you’ve been reading along on our blog for the last several months, or if you’re new to the Rooted Content space (hi!), one thing you should know about us is that we feel very strongly that emotions dictate decision making more often than rational facts do. While we’re not going to go into detail right now, neuroscientists like Damasio have made a compelling case for the philosophy of “I feel, therefore I am.”  Building a brand narrative that is based around the story of what you and your company do is more likely to cause an emotional connection between your brand and your intended customer. If you create an emotional bond with your viewer/customer, you can make a customer for life just by effectively telling your brand’s story.

  2. The quality of your storytelling reflects the quality of your product. If you click around the internet, you’ll see that more and more people are predicting the rise of video marketing in 2018. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are making live video content easily available to consumers. Here’s the thing, though, there are reasons that will make a viewer turn your video off. When people see a video campaign from you, they want it to represent the product they are purchasing related to that video. The more cohesive and company-appropriate your story is, the more likely it is to connect to your intended viewership. The more likely you are to win customers and keep them.

  3. Storytelling can be more effective than advertising. While you think a TV commercial is supposed to come out and tell you what it’s selling, more and more companies are moving away from strict advertisements. (Think about an ad where you see a family eating around a table and they’re using a product, but no one ever specifically tells you to buy it.) We take this concept one step further by giving the viewer a story to hold on to that may not have anything to do with what your business is selling. Once again, we strive to make an emotional connection with viewers that transports them into the narrative they are seeing. This can create a lasting relationship between you and your audience.

  4. Transporting audiences is a positive. One huge benefit of storytelling is that you allow your viewer an inroad to your company and its story that they would not otherwise have. For example, a medical group in the Carolinas approached us a few years ago to create an employee engagement campaign. Instead of interviewing people about why they love their jobs and giving a list of statistics about why the hospital was a good place to work, we chose a few individuals and told their specific stories. This allowed the viewing audience to be transported into what day-to-day life is like inside the hospital, and experience it almost first hand. If you put your viewer into your story, you have a better chance at influencing their emotions and their decision making.

  5. Your story is worth telling. In this day and age, we are focused on the bottom line. In terms of advertising, strategy usually comes down to highlighting the usefulness of the product or service you sell. To make lasting relationships with your customers, a better strategy is to connect with your audience on a deeper level. Your brand’s story is worth telling. Give it a voice and see what reaction you garner from the people you want to market to. You might be surprised.


At Rooted Content, we believe that storytelling is a vital part of the success of any business. Rethink your strategy for 2018 and partner with us to tell a story no one has heard before. The story behind your brand.  

Mise en Place: What 'Everything in its Place' means for your video

Cooking has taken on a life of its own over the last few years. New restaurants seem to spring up everywhere, no matter what city you live in. The names of popular chefs seem to be more common than some movie stars. Food culture is a business, but it is also an art form that has been studied and tinkered with since the dawn of human existence. Wait one minute, before you click to your next tab thinking, “What in the world does cooking have to do with videos, marketing, and video advertising?” Keep reading- we promise not to let you down.


There’s a French term used in kitchens, restaurants, and chef’s tables around the world called ‘Mise en place.’ Literally translated, it means, ‘Everything in its place.’ When a chef begins to cook a meal, they first lay out their cooking utensils and equipment in an orderly and easy to use fashion. In fact, most chefs would say that the preparation before the meal is more important than the meal itself. If you have everything you need in order, the cooking process goes much smoother and ends in a well-balanced, beautiful dish. It may seem silly that the process prior to cooking is just as important as cooking itself, but it is a well known concept in most kitchens.

When we talk about ‘purpose’ in terms of video making, we mean something similar to a chef’s mise en place. Every element of a video shoot must be considered and ‘in its place’ to make an effective video, just like every utensil a chef uses must be ‘in its place’ to make a perfect meal.

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  1. A clean workspace is a good workspace. What’s your number one deterrent to eating in a restaurant? Chances are that the service can be a little slow if the food is good, and more importantly, the kitchen is clean. Most chefs practice the art of ‘cleaning while you cook,’ meaning that they are continually cleaning up their workspace as they make each element of a dish. We employ a similar strategy when making videos: every element of a shot should be purposeful and put together to work towards the story the video is meant to tell. This means that we take every detail into account as to how it affects a viewer’s emotions, how it transports them into a narrative, and how it leads them to a clear and effective conclusion.

  2. You can’t carve a turkey without a knife. Just like you can’t shoot a video without the proper equipment. This means that while a chef may carefully lay out a selection of knives, whisks, spoons, etc., in order to make a large meal, we carefully select each piece of equipment we use on a set. Cameras, lenses, sliders, stabilizers- you name it- we take each specific piece of equipment into account before we ever begin production.

  3. You can’t scramble eggs without breaking a few. One of the most underrated details about mise en place is that it allows a chef to improvise within their own workspace. Meaning: if you have multiple tools on hand that work, you can quickly solve a problem if something goes wrong. Just as a chef may realize that a certain dish needs a little more cayenne pepper, we may decide the day of shooting that a little more natural light may give a video a more realistic quality. Because we have spent so much time preparing the details of a shoot, and having them in place, we can make last minute decisions without compromising the integrity of the video overall.


No matter what your creative pursuit, attention to detail and care for your project can help you tell the best possible story within your medium. So while a chef may want to take you on a journey through Africa via several of its dishes, we would like to take you on a journey through Africa via its people. And to do that, you have to ensure everything is ‘in its place’ and as it should be.

Tigist's Story: A Case Study

If you’ve been following along with us, you know that recently we spent some time in Ethiopia working with Eleventh Candle Company. We shot a video about a local Ethiopian laundress who had used a microloan from Eleventh Candle Company to purchase a water tap in her home that had revolutionized her laundry business, her life, and the lives of her family members. While this video was unlike most of the videos we shoot, we were still blessed by the opportunity and amazed by the final product. Why? Because a good video is made great by the story it tells. And here is how we told Tigist’s story:

  1. Character- We met Tigist by happenstance on our second trip to Ethiopia and were immediately enamored with her story. This woman, who ran her own business going house to house washing people’s clothes, was empowered with a microloan from Eleventh Candle Company to purchase a water tap within her own home so that people could bring their laundry to her. Her determination and will to succeed were two things that we admired in her. We wanted to show how strong she was and give the audience an avatar to view the story through. Tigist is an inspiration. By focusing on just one character, the video becomes more moving and powerful. Tigist has been able to take very little and turn it into a lot. We wanted the audience to identify with her ambition and see how much she had overcome by using her resources wisely.

  2. Emotion- One thing that we did not want to do with this video was play on the poverty of the people of Ethiopia. It was important to us to show Tigist’s story as one of empowerment and triumph, not a story to invoke pity. Tigist helped us do this by being the kind of person that you want to root for. We also were able to show her day to day life in detail, which allows the viewer to be transported to Ethiopia for a few minutes. By showing the emotional side of what Eleventh Candle Company does with the money they make from selling candles, it makes the viewer feel inspired to purchase candles from Eleventh Candle Company and support women like Tigist.

  3. Location- Shooting this video was wildly different than any shoot that we do here in the states. We had limited equipment, no lighting materials, a translator that was not fluent in English, and a host of other limitations and concerns. While it may have been easier to interview Eleventh Candle Company staff here in the US in well lit studio spaces, we wanted people to be able to see and experience who, what, and where they are supporting when they purchase a candle. This means that we made the best of our location. Tigist did not have electricity. We used natural light, window shots, some of our more convenient handheld cameras and captured what everyday is like for Tigist and her family. This way the viewer is truly allowed to experience a day in her life.  

  4. Purpose- Just because our resources were limited does not mean that we didn’t put just as much thought into every detail of this video. We even recorded some of the voiceover in the back of an Ethiopian restaurant because our waitress spoke better English than the translator who was traveling with us. We were challenged and did not have our normal amount of flexibility or equipment. We had to use what was available to us, which gave the video a more holistic feel. Ethiopia is truly represented in its entirety, as are Tigist and her family.


There are hundreds of candle companies out there. We hope that Tigist’s story and the good work being done by our friends at Eleventh Candle Company will inspire you to support them this holiday season. Shooting this video with them was a fun, moving, and inspiring experience that we would not trade for the world.


For more on the behind the scenes making of this video, watch here: