The power of a good story

Meeting up with family and friends and sharing stories is always a big part of my festive break from work. Reminiscing, laughing, and reminding ourselves of times gone by that have shaped us is important. This year, as ever, I’ve enjoyed remembering, but it’s also inspired me to look a little bit deeper. To write it down, to record it, and attempt to halt the passage of time that inevitably means these stories will quickly fade.

These stories are fascinating and profoundly moving to me. Not least the adventures my great grandfather had in the Black Watch, and that my great great grandmother was one of 12, and had 3 siblings that died in infancy. Hearing the stories of being a butler in the ‘big house’ that my grandfather told also made a real impression. On reflection, I feel somehow formed by knowing how they strived, and hearing about their struggles and joys as life progressed for them.

Exchanging stories with family is integral to our sense of identity and place

Research shows that having some knowledge of one’s family history has some pretty profound implications. It correlates to a sense of individual self-worth and lower levels of anxiety. It also helps to strengthen the family unit and your ability to relate to and identify with your loved ones. There’s a whole field of study, known as Narrative Identity Theory, that focuses on just this, and specifically that persons stories about their life, and those around them, are key to shaping one’s personality.

Reflecting on our own Boxclever story, that same sense of feeling shaped and being continually inspired by heritage resonates. Boxclever was born with a simple pledge to deliver seniority to every project, to be bold and commercial in how we bring insight to life and to celebrate strong agency-client partnerships. Just as key is a wholehearted embrace of flexibility and balance, so that our lives outside of work are treated with equal importance.

This story is our DNA, it’s shaped every breath the business has taken in 12 years, it’s who we were and who we are now

We are well practiced at using the power of personal stories in the world of brand building, in how we create coherent propositions that take the best heritage from the past and reinvent themselves to remain relevant and future facing. The question I’m left with is in our personal lives, why do so many stories get forgotten, why does so much family history disappear when the older generations pass on? Maybe it’s because we don’t document as much as we should. We now keep far fewer physical photos. Maybe it’s that we also talk a little less with or about generations gone by, or just that we talk less, full stop?

With a renewed sense of purpose, and a nod to the resolve that comes with a new year, I have signed up to map my family tree, dug out the old tape recordings I made with my grandfather 30 years ago, and start a journal to write down the stories from the past. Hopefully I won’t find too many skeletons in the closet as I go!