What the Chicago Cubs’ World Series Win Can Teach You About Storytelling

UPDATED: June 26, 2023
PUBLISHED: February 15, 2017

I admit, I haven’t watched a game of baseball in more than a decade. But when friends invited us over for Game 7 of the World Series, we couldn’t refuse; even I wanted to see how this story would end.

The Cubs Game 7 win of the World Series is described by many as “the greatest story in baseball history.” Because of this triumphant and historical moment, stories from around the world have emerged, crossing generations and bringing strangers together.

As an entrepreneur, you are likely familiar with the power of great storytelling. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait 108 years to become the greatest story in your industry.

Keep reading for six tips to hit a home run with your brand story.

Related: 4 Ways Storytelling Can Make Your Personal Brand Pop

1. Give them something to cheer for.

The Cubs story is your classic David and Goliath, rise of the underdog narrative. Everyone loves cheering for the little guy. You can use this same story to your advantage. Are you an underdog? Has your company overcome challenges? Has it been a long road to success? Tell your stories of struggle so loyal supporters and future fans have a hero they can support and cheer for.

2. Don’t limit your stories.

A common misconception about brand storytelling is you need one big story. This is false. Brands are composed of many stories. Just as every player and every fan has a Cubs story, your brand has an unlimited story supply. Tell every story you can find; the best will rise the top, be retold and become your brand lore.

3. Encourage participation.

If you’re not limited to one story, your next job is to go find as many stories as possible. Seek out your loyal fans and listen to their stories. Call them. Interview them. Film them. Post them on social media or as blogs. Let your fans participate in your story by helping them share their story.

4. Be quirky.

Have you heard the one about the billy goat curse? One hundred years ago, a Cubs fan was turned away at the gate because he had a goat and couldn’t bring it in. The jilted fan cursed the franchise, and the Cubs went on a century-long losing streak. This story has survived generations. Why? Because it’s a little strange. Does your business have a slightly quirky story? Not only does a slightly quirky story differentiate you, it gets retold. That goat went viral before viral was a thing—and yours can, too.

5. Tell it.

This is a simple but frequently overlooked tip for entrepreneurs and businesses. Once you find your stories, tell them everywhere and all the time. Tell them in pitches, online and in brochures. Stencil your story on the walls in your office so your team knows who you are and where you came from. Chipotle prints stories on their cups. Have a big meeting? It better start with one of your stories. Any place you can fit a story is a perfect place for a story.

6. Don’t stop.

Inevitably, after years of telling your stories, they’ll start to sound tired to you. You’ll opt for newer, flashier marketing copy or gimmicks. This is a mistake. Imagine if, 50 years into their losing streak, the Cubs stopped telling their underdog story. Or look at KFC who, after years of straying from him, brought the Colonel back. You can layer in other strategies, but never stop telling your stories.

The day after the big game, I ran some errands, and though I live on the west coast, the city was filled with blue jerseys and red letter Cs. And every time I saw one, I couldn’t help but shout, “Go Cubs!” Your story has the power to convert strangers into fans. Harness that power and you, too, will be the greatest story in your industry.

Related: Don’t Be a Wallflower: 3 Ways to Heat Up Your Personal Brand

Kindra Hall

Kindra Hall is the bestselling author of Stories That Stick and a sought-after keynote speaker. She is the president of Steller Collective, a marketing agency focused on the power of storytelling to overcome communication challenges.