The Best Story Wins

A thought provoker from Joseph Nye’s December article in Foreign Affairs:

Conventional wisdom holds that the state with the largest army prevails, but in the information age, the state (or the nonstate actor) with the best story may sometimes win.

Allow me to revise that for business:

Conventional wisdom holds that the competitor with the best products prevails, but in the information age, the competitor with the best story may sometimes win.

Just as strategic communications is increasingly important as a means of national power, corporate strategic communications should be a competitive weapon, a game-changer, not just news releases, press conferences, and spin.

Blessed few western companies understand that, and I’ve yet to find a Chinese company that does.



About David Wolf

An adviser to corporations and organizations on strategy, communications, and public affairs, David Wolf has been working and living in Beijing since 1995, and now divides his time between China and California. He also serves as a policy and industry analyst focused on innovative and creative industries, a futurist, and an amateur historian.
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3 Responses to The Best Story Wins

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Best Story Wins « Silicon Hutong --

  2. You’re absolutely right. Terrence McKenna often voiced that his interest groups needed a better story as the better story wins. As an asid there’s a loudspeaker manufacturer in Shenzen called Microlab who make kick ass speaker sets for ipods, gaming etc. I’ve contacted them personally to ask them if they want to hook up and no reply. They are sitting on a great story both product wise and they way they have grown. Ah well.

    • David Wolf says:

      The pity for most Chinese companies like Microlab is that they have great stories to tell and have no idea where to begin to tell it. The good news for them is that apparently they don’t need to – yet.

      What I – and many like me – are betting is that at some point they are going to wake up and realize either “wow, we’d better do something fast, or the Shanzhai guys down the road are going to ruin us,” or “why the hell doesn’t anybody know about all of the cool stuff we do? Hmm, maybe we’d better get some help…”

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