BEHIND YOUR BACK: Target Stories. Not Stars.

By / 2 years ago

You and your team are already doing the hard part – consistently solving your customers’ problems. Now it’s time to share the stories.

By: Bradley Hartmann
“Life is like a box of chocolates… you never know what you’re gonna get.”

In the early ’70’s, this was surely true for agents representing Hollywood stars. Until one man came along: Michael Ovitz. Ovitz was a founder of Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in 1975. He changed the role of an agent. His insight was this: Target stories, not stars.

He knew what he wanted: stars. And Ovitz knew what stars wanted: money, fame, and social acceptance. The way to get all four was through stories.

Pre-Ovitz, the agent for Tom Hanks would search for an appropriate role. Upon finding one, the agent would earn 10% commission. Ovitz blew up that model.

Once he identified a story (say, Forrest Gump), he would deliver an entire cast to the studio (CAA clients: Robert Zemeckis as director, actors Tom Hanks, Sally Field, Gary Sinese, and Robin Wright).

CAA and Ovitz would then take 10% from everyone involved, increasing revenues dramatically. Life may be like a box of chocolates, but when you’re the agent representing the movie’s director and half the cast, you know exactly what you’re gonna get: more.

The same insight applies to your business. Target stories, not stars.

Your talented team is out there—right now—solving problems and delighting customers. These are your stories. Stories, chock-full of customer details showcasing your expertise, are powerful. But you need to ask your team for them.

Once the stories are found, what is the best way to share them?

Video Testimonial
Have your delighted customer re-tell the story while you record it on your smartphone. There is no more powerful way to share your story.

Audio Testimonial
Not as impactful as a video testimonial, but audio is a close second. Use the voice recorder app on your smartphone. Email the audio file to yourself directly from your smartphone. Then email it to your prospects.

Mini-Case Study
Define the challenge, the options you presented, your recommendation and the resulting implementation and solution. Keep it to one-page. Include one photo/image.

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Bradley Hartmann

Bradley Hartmann is El Presidente at Red Angle, Inc. and the author of Behind Your Back. To learn more, contact him at, or visit