The biggest thing we learned from the Story Dive is that you are flying in rare air. The brand story you are telling internally is the same story being told externally. We rarely find that when we go through this process with a client. So kudos. Your brand story is all about DISCOVERY. And it’s working!

You have a tribe that is rallied around this story. In fact, you’re bordering on a movement! Now it’s time to throw gasoline on this fire and watch it spread.

In Seth Godin’s seminal book, “TRIBES” he wrote about the anatomy of a movement and how Senator Bill Bradley defined a movement as having three elements: (1) A narrative that tells a story about who we are and the future we're trying to build. (2) A connection between and among the leader and the tribe. (3) Something to do.

You’re already doing this. We believe your fall fundraising drive can focus even more on these three areas.


So many stories came up in our Story Dive from your listeners. Like the one about (Christine?) becoming a member after getting tickets to Death Cab for Cutie, their first date after their first child, and being the only ones tailgating in the parking lot.

That’s a beautiful story that engages people’s hearts and minds.

We recommend telling that story (and others like it) instead of making the statement, “WNKU is supported by its listeners.” Statements don’t engage our emotions. They pass through one ear and out the other. Stories engage our hearts and we can’t help but remember them.

We recommend that you take an audit of everywhere you’re making STATEMENTS about who you are and the future you’re building, and figure out how to tell STORIES instead. Tell the stories of your tribe discovering, experiencing, loving music. They can be done in :20 seconds on air. They can be tweets and emails that get shared online and on the air. The possibilities are vast.

Telling listeners' support stories will be contagious. Members of a tribe want to be given a VOICE. Especially your tribe. The reason they love music so much is that it gives voice to their feelings and validates their experiences. So they are primed to help you tell the story of the future you are building- a community discovering themselves through music.

2. A CONNECTION between you and your tribe.

You’re doing this well on social media. Keep it up! Keep affirming your listeners when they take the risk to reach out to you online. Figure out how to connect the social media interactions with on air interactions. This connects with the above point.

You play local music every hour which connects you to the local pride of your tribe. Maybe you should share a tweet every hour from a listener. Bridging social media with on air feels like your biggest opportunity to build your tribe. Some of the story ideas in the first point will do this as well.

Maybe have the local bands tell their stories about what WNKU and its listeners have done for them. That way the tribe feels like they are a part of getting the local bands discovered. That tangible feeling of affirmation will go a long way.

Connect with your tribe through more curated experiences. Concerts seem like they are worth more than money to your tribe. So many of the stories we heard centered around concerts and membership. They feel like they owe you when you give them these experiences. Keep it up!

3. Give them something TO DO.

Joining your story and becoming a member is the perfect invitation to action. But too often public radio fund drives start from a fearful place- “Support us so we can keep the lights on.”

Based on the Story Dive we don't believe this message will resonate with your tribe AND the friends they’re going to invite in. Nobody invites their friends to join something that might go away soon. Metaphorically, your tribe is inviting their friends a cross-country road trip full of discovery and new discoveries. They would tell those stories when trying to convince them to pack their bags. They wouldn’t say, “We won’t make it St. Louis if we don’t have your gas money."

The author of the "Little Prince" put it much more poetically like this:

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Invite your tribe to join your story by telling their stories and watch what happens.

4. Give them a symbol/flag to rally behind.

Every movement needs a symbol that represents and unifies its members. Your tribe seems like they are a powder keg waiting to explode with vocal and visible pride.

You need to give them a badass t-shirt and sticker so they can proudly emblazon their pride on their cars, laptops and chests. We live in a visual world with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. A movement needs a visual story. Your tribe will become walking, talking, and social sharing billboards if you give them iconic swag.


These are words/themes kept coming up over and over in the Story Dive:

Curated, Exclusive, Local, Loyalty, Pride, Non-corporate, Eclectic, Different, Cutting Edge, Ownership, Community

These words and themes will organically come out as you empower your tribe to tell their stories; which will attract other people like them.

Give your tribe a voice (tell their stories).

Provide them curated experiences.

Invite them to join the journey.

Give them a badass shirt.

Take some time to digest all of this. We can help brainstorm ways to do it all if that would be helpful. We also have experience creating badass t-shirts :)


Created with images by bbolender - "stage crowd fans" • Unsplash - "concert girl dancing" • Al Lloyd - "Sara and Nicky" • Unsplash - "couple driving motorcycle" • jetheriot - "Houston Obama mural" • alexkampmann - "marshall amplifier guitar" • WikiImages - "suspension bridge ohio river cincinnati"

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