I Killed A Rabid Fox With A Croquet Mallet: Storytelling In Business

I’m going to name it, here, at present. Best title for a business book ever. I’ve never heard an improved one. Please, if in case you have, let me know within the comments below.

I Killed A Rabid Fox With A Croquet Mallet , written by Nicolas Boillot, the CEO of HB Agency , is subtitled Making What you are promoting Stories Compelling And remarkable, and that’s exactly what the book outlines. Stories, and the significance of storytelling in business and marketing.

In my other life, I write fiction, so I’ve read quite a few books and articles on story structure and writing. This book takes storytelling theory and lessons, distills them and shows you the way you need to use them to learn your corporation. You need to create a story inside the minds of your customers, and this book shows you the way.

I’ve been thumbing during the book (not literally, I got a PDF copy), and there’s plenty of cool stuff in here (including the tale that inspired the title. Spoilers: The writer says he truly did kill a rabid fox with a croquet mallet). It’s packed with case studies, “from a small Canadian folk band, to a medium-sized environmental consulting group, our examples allow you to to determine that it’s not any such stretch to get from here to there, using your individual best stories because the catalyst. You are able to do it, and this book will show you the way.”

The author was kind enough to permit us to post an excerpt. Here’s portion of chapter one:


Search online or ask friends and co-workers, “What’s in a narrative?” and every friend, each source, will provide you with a further answer.

In HB Agency’s PR practice, once we reach out to journalists, they generally ask without delay if we’re calling a few first, best or only. In other words, they would like to grasp if our scoop will provide them with knowledge a couple of product, service and even an event that nobody has ever heard about. Or something that’s more impressive than the rest. If we can’t say “yes” (and most often we can’t), they ask, “Why would my audience care?”

Novelist Jim Hines says he was taught that a narrative shows us “interesting people in interesting places solving interesting problems in interesting ways.” He goes directly to ask, “What qualifies as interesting, anyway?” And, “How are you able to tell in the event that your stuff may be interesting to others?”

Great past and contemporary storytellers will discuss with Shakespeare because the master of all storytellers, yet after in-depth study, none of them can devise any type of recipe for telling an exceptional story according to Shakespeare. Some Shakespearean scholars claim that he depended on surprise and incongruity for far of his storytelling – that those elements, surprise and incongruity, keep us hooked as his plots unfold.

Surprise and incongruity, what am I speculated to do with that?

Roughly 400 years after Shakespeare, Robert McKee, consultant to the film industry and mentor to screenwriters, novelists and playwrights, often says “story happens when there’s a niche between expectation and result.” That’s a little bit more helpful than “surprise and incongruity.” As a matter of fact, that nugget is so helpful that it bears repeating:


Let’s dig deeper.

Suppose you run into an old friend at a business meeting and also you say, “Hey, have I got a narrative for you!” She perks up, and also you commence:

“I went to work late yesterday evening to end up a project, and my business partner was already in his office. i’ll tell by the sunshine under the door. Wow, i assumed, he’s not usually in that late. I knocked at the door, he told me to return in, after which he had this example occurring which made me are looking to help him right away…”

Very quickly, you see that you simplyr old friend has that sleepy look in her eye that you recognize from somewhere. Oh, that’s it: the identical look a two-year-old gets when her mother reads Goodnight Moon.

Try again:

“I went to work late yesterday evening and my business partner was in his office. I knocked at the door, walked in, and noticed that things weren’t right. I had had some suspicion about this because he’s not usually in his office. He was actually lying at the floor…”

She perks up. What? Lying at the floor? Try another time:

“I went to work late last night and located my business partner lying at the floor naked with scratch marks right through his body. I heard a noise and looked as much as see an orangutan within the corner, glaring at me while chewing considered one of its fingernails…”

Your colleague interrupts you. “Whoooa…” she says, “slow down. i would like to listen to it from the beginning… so you’re walking into the office and… did you even notice anything in your way in?”

You didn’t actually have to get loud or intense.

The widening gap between expectation and result, and/or the surprise and incongruity that Shakespeare depends upon, absorbs us into the tale. At this point you’re thinking: Is sensible. But my company doesn’t have stories about naked business partners recently mauled by orangutans!


Your stories exist. They’re told and repeated each day:

•     By directors, to management
•     By management, to employees
•     By salespeople, to customers
•     By customers, to prospects

Some people won’t even think about them as stories, but you’ve them in droves they usually survive and propagate, without or with your assistance. Unfortunately, they’re in most cases forgotten, wasted or poorly used.


Remember your first experience of leverage. Maybe you needed to move a rock and someone showed you ways you can put your weight on one end of a stick, use a log or a boulder as a fulcrum, and move a heavy object at the other end. You didn’t ought to change your weight or your strength. You didn’t need to buy any additional equipment. But suddenly it’s worthwhile to leverage your individual weight to transport something much bigger.

Stories are like that. You’ve got them and you’ve already paid for them. They could do the heavy lifting for you and your corporation. The question is a way to take advantage of them, to leverage them, in an effort to move your audiences how you want.


From billboards to the net, businesses compete to notify, interact, transact and create strong relationships with prospects and customers. L.L.Bean rose to fame through its ironclad satisfaction guarantee:

“Guaranteed to Last. Our products are certain to give 100% satisfaction in every way. Return anything purchased from us at anytime if it proves otherwise. We don’t want you to have anything from L.L.Bean that isn’t completely satisfactory.”

When we were in college, students boasted about returning an item they’d abused over several months or years and getting a brand new one at no cost. Such stories spread quickly. We believe L.L.Bean banked at the incontrovertible fact that many people who heard these stories had one reaction: That person’s abusing the system. But what an important company to have this type of return policy!

The return policy doesn’t make the tale interesting – it’s the tale about someone abusing the system that captures our attention. Did L.L.Bean executives plan on such stories becoming the catalyst to its phenomenal growth and longevity? Maybe they knew that some bargain-hunters and system abusers may be the first to spread tales in regards to the return policy. If this is the case, they ought to even have known that such tales would reach and influence millions of consumers who will be more scrupulous about their returns.


Great stories live in movies, theatres, magazine pages, YouTube, books, company websites and, most of all, in our minds.

Great stories stick out and stick around. We retell them. We reread them. We watch them repeated. We share them again and again. In reality, we love them most that we depend on other folks to indicate, you’ve told me that one already. To which we answer, “I know. But Joe hasn’t heard it – I’ll tell it again.” Sometimes we even say, “I know, but i admire telling it.”


These terms will crop up repeatedly throughout this book. Nearly all people discuss stories and describe them pretty much as good, great, cool, fun, etc. Qualifiers like these are completely subjective. And while almost everything qualifies as “subjective” to some extent, using the words compelling and noteworthy is more helpful to helping us understand what makes a narrative valuable to your business.

Compelling: Which means the tale grabs your attention. You’re compelled to listen, read, and watch. We’re not naïve enough to think that many business stories will provide edge-of-your-seat gripping intensity… But compelling, yes. Even captivating. The proper business stories grab the audience’s attention, like the right salesperson hooks a prospect.

But who’s the “you” once we say grab your attention? It’s not you! You’re the storyteller. While your story should seem compelling to you, it’s more important to make it compelling to your audience.

Remember that – we’ll be talking about audience later.

Memorable: As business owners and employees, we attribute special intending to a number of our stories. They color the cloth of our time together, the ups and downs of our business life, the solidarity of being “in it together.” They frequently provide reasons for purchasing up daily and going to work – reasons we tell friends and spouse and children regularly. This book is set stories designed especially in your professional communities, outside and inside your online business, and we wish them memorable for 2 primary reasons.

•     First, we’d like our audiences, especially our customers and prospects, to preserve great reasons to work with us. In a fiercely competitive landscape, it’s tough to get a brand new customer. Keeping that customer happy is even tougher. What we call brand loyalty involves getting customers to bear in mind compelling stories about our business and their interactions with it. For our internal audiences, a similar reasoning applies: Memorable stories solidify an employee’s reasons to return to work, to speak to other potentially good employees concerning the company, and to worth the memories she or he makes within the workplace.

•     Second, the easiest way to market ourselves is when folks marketplace for us – in other words, word of mouth marketing. If our audiences remember the nice stories about our business, they are going to so much more easily share them with their friends. In a time when the networked world makes sharing easier than ever, it pays to have lots of good stories to share.

You should buy I Killed A Rabid Fox With A Croquet Mallet here.

Tell us your business’s story within the comments!

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