Fire Up Your Business with Professional Storytelling

By: Heidi Jon Schmidt in Business Storytelling
on January 2nd, 2020

One of our clients, Terlato Wines, asked if I’d be available to interview with Forbes and Inc. magazines about our Dueling Pistols project. A chance to tell a story about professional storytelling? Yes please!

Professional Storytelling Around A Wine Label

We’ve been working with Terlato on their launch of a new wine, Dueling Pistols. The bottle's label depicts two men with guns raised for a duel; seven others gathered in the background as witnesses. The tension of the moment—precisely before the guns are shot—demanded a backstory. One of our creative teams at RTC interviewed nearly a dozen folks at Terlato, asking them provocative questions that invited us into their work and their lives. Between the lines, they shared what they are pursuing with a passion (adventure, belonging, safety, anonymity, to be the hero), as well as what they are running from (feeling trapped, being tethered to the past, losing family, harming a loved one). We call these unconscious motivations the essence of our human experience, and those characteristics became the centerpieces of the nine rough and ready figures who appear on the wine label. Setting them in the Gold rush era of the 1840's, we fictionalized each characters' backstory and how they found their way to Hangtown, CA. When the story begins, they are coming together in a dangerous time, where survival demands unusual allegiances, and betrayal costs the ultimate price.

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Exciting New Marketing with Professional Storytelling

Terlato will use the Dueling Pistol's story and our professional storytelling work as the basis of an experiential marketing campaign around the new wine. Readers, listeners, watchers will be following our characters as they collide with one another, perhaps imagining themselves as they might react to the challenges of slinging for gold, protecting a lover, and fighting for honor.

So why is the media pricking up their ears?

Certainly, it's hard to resist a good story. But what the reporter I spoke with found most fascinating is the way we birthed the story from the values and behaviors of the company itself. Terlato's culture is intense, dramatic, fun, high-risk, and high-reward. Everyone who works there has an adventure-filled history. The resulting story we have created, while set in the wild west, is deeply emblematic of what Terlato stands for. Audiences who find themselves drawn to the story we have created, will find themselves enraptured with Terlato itself. That's the power of professional storytelling.