Q&A with a Story Guru: David Willows: Marketing Is About Telling the Story and Helping Audience Members Find Their Place in the Story

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Although my next Q&A series doesn’t officially start till May, I’m delighted to whet my appetite and yours with this interview with David Willows, who uses storytelling in his job as director of external relations for The International School of Brussels in Brussels, Belgium. This Q&A will appear over the next several days.

DavidWillows.jpg David Willows is Director of External Relations at the International School of Brussels (ISB), Belgium. He has experience of working and writing in education, philosophy, marketing and brand development, pastoral care and counselling. He serves on the Board of the European Association of Communication Directors (EACD) and as a member of the Commission on Marketing and Communications for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). He maintains the blog “Fragments,” which is also the title of his collection of stories and reflections that attempts to make sense of modern family life. You can read more about him here.

Q&A with David Willows, Question 1:

Q: You write on your blog, Fragments, “I often tell people that my job as director of external relations at the International School of Brussels is about ‘telling the story of my school and helping other people find their place in that story.’” What are some of the ways you tell the school’s story?


A: In my current work as the director of external relations of a large international school, it is true that I often say that my role is all about ‘telling the story of my school and helping others find their place in that story.’ That’s what marketing is all about as far as I am concerned! How we tell that story, though, is critical — and let’s not forget that storytelling is as much about listening as it is speaking to those around us.
So right now, we are busy telling the story of our school by producing brochures without words (allowing people to get closer to the experience, rather than bogged down by the world of fact); we are exploring the huge opportunities of that social media is providing — and it’s perhaps no surprise to find that our YouTube channel is fast becoming our most popular online gateway to the school; we are also intrigued by the ways in which data (that’s right, all the numbers and graphs) can tell stories in a particular way … so we’ve developed a data dashboard for key stakeholders across the school.


That is so right! Marketing is about developing a connection with you audience around some shared experience. What better way to do that than through story telling.

I’m so glad you commented because I have been wanting to invite YOU to do a Q&A but couldn’t find contact info.

Hi, David speaks a little more about storytelling as a marketing tool at the ISB on our blog. He is the co-editor of a book we publish: Effective Marketing, Communications and Development.

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Dr. Kathy Hansen

Kathy Hansen, PhD, is a leading proponent of deploying storytelling for career advancement. She is an author and instructor, in addition to being a career guru. More...


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