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Within months, COVID-19 emerged and almost instantly altered every aspect of our lives, including how we work and where we live.
Steven and Garrett decided to make proverbial lemonade out of very sour lemons by moving away from the gridlocked freeways of Los Angeles and towards two cities that had been calling to them. Steven moved to the brand and startup incubating boomtown of Austin, Texas. And Garrett found his home in the tranquil LGBTQ and design mecca of Palm Springs, California – a stone’s throw away from L.A.
“We had the perfect opportunity to re-envision all aspects of the business and our work and personal lives,” says Le Vine.
“We leveraged the trend of remote work, remote teams, and the dissolving need for corporate office space to help re-imagine our firm,” McClure further explains.
This was just the beginning of what would become an accelerated evolution and expansion of the Grapevine PR + Consulting brand.
Demand for Grapevine’s services and roster began reflecting Garrett’s deep experience in advertising, tech, and coaching, and Austin’s eclectic Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) brands. The pair decided to meet this trend by launching two new divisions: Brands & Experts.
These practices joined their existing specialization in high-profile celebrities and continued emphasis in serving LGBTQ+ and BIPOC clients. (In 2007, The Advocate referred to Grapevine PR as the “first firm specifically serving gay clientele.”)
During this time their signature storytelling model, Stories That F*cking Matter, also began to emerge.
Over the years, Steven had received numerous requests to put out a book. Despite having a lifetime of thrilling anecdotes to share, such as accompanying his client on Madonna’s MDNA World Tour across Europe, volunteering with clients in Africa, and more, he remained patient for the right time.
“I’ll never forget sitting with Garrett in my favorite coffee shop, deconstructing our entire process for securing clients press. It all comes down to their story,” Steven recalls. “At the end, this really simple but incredibly powerful storytelling framework revealed itself.”
The two quickly got to work writing the book. And by the end of 2022, Stories That F*cking Matter: Three Pillars of Epic Storytelling to Dominate Media Headlines, Win Clients and Grow Your Business, was released.
The book features a special foreword from client William Shatner and an afterword from Pintauro, and has since become an instant Amazon #1 bestseller. The book can also be found on the bookshelves in popular indie bookstores like Austin’s BookPeople and L.A.’s Book Soup next to business bestsellers such as Simon Sinek’s Start with Why and Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson.
Throughout the book, the two PR and media industry veterans detail proven strategies and insider tips to tell a story that really matters and gets noticed. They emphasize this as the key to standing out in today’s chaotic, cluttered, and fragmented media environment. The book is full of current examples from pop culture, politics, and business. And bold tales of rugged entrepreneurism and interesting personal stories take the reader deeper into the concepts.
“The story is one of the most powerful tools humans have ever discovered,” McClure explains.
“And in 2023, not only is it the key to getting the attention of reporters and TV producers, but it’s also the key to success for anyone in sales, or an entrepreneur raising capital or recruiting the best talent.”
Steven adds, “Everyone has a story as unique as their DNA. No one shares your story, and no one ever will. But many don’t realize the sheer power of their story, or how to tell it. And sadly, many incredible stories go unheard and untold.”
“An authentic, interesting story is one of the only things the power of AI will not be able to compete with, touch, or manufacture. Your story is, in essence, your superpower. It’s time to own it!”
The book has stirred up so much attention and demand for the firm’s services that it has already tripled its team and created a waiting list for new clients.
“We are a growth-focused firm and look at each client’s entire business,” McClure says. “So it’s exciting to be eating our own ‘dog food.’ We are grateful for the opportunity to hand-select our clients.”
In addition to placing a heavy emphasis on storytelling, what makes Grapevine unique is its bold approach to using its PR and storytelling strategies to drive the growth of its clients’ businesses and brands.
Grapevine PR places substantive focus on strategic planning and executing annual, growth-focused strategic PR and integrated marketing campaigns. At every step of the way, the firm makes sure each strategy and tactic is aligned with the larger goals of brand building and business growth for the client.
“Unlike traditional firms, we don’t focus on securing press coverage for our clients solely for the sake of getting great press or helping them become famous. We ensure the coverage we secure is intentional and moves the bottom line,” McClure explains. “We help them leverage the power of their epic story.”
“At the end of the day, what our clients really care about is growing their businesses and brands, courting investors or leading successful exits, and getting time back in their busy lives. As entrepreneurs ourselves, we understand this.”
Wait… making my story one that matters involves others? Yep. It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s not.
Do you want to tell a memorable story that f*cking matters and feel good, maybe even euphoric about it? Make acts of service intentional in the story you’re telling. Helping others is a great way to boost self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth, and is a useful way to create connectivity and find purpose in your life.
A 2016 study published in Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine found that giving had greater benefits than receiving (yes, fans of Michael Scott from The Office; that’s what she said). Put simply, the study showed that when you help others, you’re also helping yourself.
Storytelling is, in part, about creating meaningful connections. To do this, you must know your audience, or who you’re talking to.
You have to determine the impact you want your story to have and make it relatable. Put yourself in the listener’s shoes and ask, “What’s in it for me?”
How is your audience or listener benefiting from the story you’re telling? What is the bigger picture here?
Whatever the solution you may be provided via your story, your audience needs to know it and understand it clearly. That’s also how you maintain interest from your listener and build a foundation of trust, which is essential.
You want to share stories with built-in benefits or solutions because those benefits or solutions evoke emotions, making a story much more memorable.
Great storytellers all have one common element in their stories. They keep it simple!
First, the story is short. It can “fit on the back of an envelope,” in the words of Richard Branson.
Secondly, they use easy-to-understand language, even when explaining complicated subjects or ideas.
By simplifying a story, it becomes easier to build rapport with the listener or your target audience, bringing you a step closer to creating a meaningful connection and/or making headlines.
As a simple exercise, if you could use only one word to tell the story of your life up to this point, what would it be? What about ten words?
For more visit thePRGrapevine.com and Get your copy of Stories That F*cking Matter on Amazon!
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