The Story Economy and Its Irreplaceable Value in the ChatGPT Era

Author: Eric Schudiske, CEO

The Story Economy and Its Irreplaceable Value in the ChatGPT Era

The largest economy underpinning transactions, engagements, partnerships, and customer acquisition is one so genetically woven into our communications and cultures, so connected with every aspect of our lives, we don’t even see it. 

It’s the story economy. 

Literature, movies, social media juggernauts like TikTok and Instagram, the news industry, art, marketing, advertising, music, religion, and politics are all platforms built wired to thrive through the story economy. 

These industries grow in mindshare and profit through all the forms of storytelling that influence and connect with people. The most impactful stories—whether fact or fiction, Tweeted in 280 characters or typed out in 40,000 words—resonate deeply and broadly and can change the course of countries, companies, and careers. 

Twitter (well, at least one influencer there) agrees.

Now, we see the story economy being configured to scale through generative AI like the GPT-3 natural language processing technology, or ChatGPT.

Right now, AI text feels a bit like trickery. When it’s discovered—because it’s rarely disclosed—people instantly discount AI texts’ value. And right now, they should. In a time when consumers demand authenticity and transparency perhaps more than ever before, being served AI-generated text can feel like being served literary leftovers from someone else’s plate. A little gross.

ChatGPT is the plastic of prose; cheaper, infinitely configurable, and faster for more mundane tasks, but ultimately less durable, interesting, and relatable than what it’s eventually meant to replace (which is you and your story). 

Whether they’re stories that deliver fortitude to beleaguered and bombed citizens as in Winston Churchill’s We Shall Fight on the Beaches speech;

Or signal a sea change as in Apple’s definitive SuperBowl ad cracking the Microsoft monolith;

The impact of human-told stories helped alter history because humans found the most impactful, creative, and effective way to communicate with other humans.

There’s a difference between how this clearly articulated clause, similar to that of AI-generated copy, connects with you: 

“Our country was founded 87 years ago on this new continent, based on religious and personal freedoms…” 

Versus this, written more than a century ago, and well before AI-generated copy:

“Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty…”  

GPT-3’s best use case right now is filling a blank page with text for transactional services for a human to refine. But even that is a dodge. As I’m sure the car felt like a cheat compared to the horse. That’ll change. The cost of a human writing copy is just too expensive and slow, which justifies Microsoft’s seismic investment in the space. 

But what likely won’t change is that writing to influence, educate, and entertain humans is best done by humans.

3 prompts to help you leverage the power of story in your business communications:

The Tipping Point: A story that marks a clear line where everything afterward will be different.

Prompt: What’s the story of the moment when you realized a need in the market for your solution? 

The Inside Look: A story that helps audiences visualize key behind-the-scenes moments.

Prompt: What’s a client or customer interaction that really stands out to you?

The Analogy: A story that draws an unlikely comparison to give readers a point of reference.

Prompt: Think about recent headlines, discoveries, or cultural news outside your industry. How can you draw a comparison or learnings from that?

Want to learn more? Here are 3 ways to talk tech with a human touch.

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