Good stories usually start with a question: Who did this? Why?
Our question came in a piece of psychological research we read 25 years ago. The finding was one we never forgot: it wasn’t what happened to you that determined your success — but the story you told about what happened to you.
Throughout our careers, we saw how often our clients struggled to make an impact, how companies could spend ages building a story that sank without a ripple. And we couldn’t help thinking about this asymmetry: If storytelling is so powerful, why do so many stories fail? And how can we consistently build one that won’t?
We have spent years investigating the fields of behavioral economics, cognitive psychology and the architecture of narrative. (One of us armed with a Ph.D., the other with curiosity and years of field experience.) We looked into the emerging fields of mindset science and neuroscience. We studied history, politics and decades of enterprise performance, looking for patterns in what made some narratives work and why some didn’t.
The results of our research have been astounding. And we’re passionate about sharing what we’ve learned. Because more than ever, we believe that success is all about the story you tell. And if you change your narrative, everything will change.
In 25 years, and through all our research, we’ve found one thing to be true: storytelling is a competitive sport. And if you can change your narrative, you can change everything.
ROBYN CASTELLANI, CEO
Robyn Castellani has 25 years’ experience in marketing, working on both the advertising and public relations side of the street, for firms including Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising and Porter Novelli. She was a partner and the global director of Porter Novelli’s groundbreaking social marketing practice for many years.
Robyn is a nationally recognized thought leader in the field of behavior change and social marketing – crafting some of the most successful social change programs of the past 25 years. Her campaigns have won awards including the Silver Anvil, PR Week’s Public Service Campaign of the Year, and the HHS Award for Distinguished Public Service Campaign.
Robyn is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brown University and is married to Steve Runholt, a Presbyterian Minister.
MARC CASTELLANI, Ph.D., Consultant
Marc Castellani earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2002, and has worked as a clinician, administrator, program developer and researcher. He is currently Health Behavior Coordinator for the W.G. VAMC in Salisbury, NC, where he also chairs the Research and Development Committee and Patient Centered Care Committee.
Marc leads trainings and conferences across the country on improving communication, building relationships, fostering resilience, and promoting cultural transformation. He developed and presented workshops on implementing new primary care approaches, assisted in developing the curriculum for a national program focused on relationship-centered care, and was selected the VA’s clinical champion for Whole Health Coaching. Throughout his work is a theme of building relationships through storytelling, fostering resilience, and staying focused on what brings meaning to your career and your life.
Marc is married to Jodie Castellani, also a clinical psychologist, with whom he has two sons.
Castle & Spark is new, but the people behind it aren’t. Over 25 years, we’ve designed behavior change and narrative programs for clients including:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’
- American Cancer Society
- Outdoor Industry Association
- Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry
- Johnson & Johnson
- Emory University and Emory Healthcare
- Coalition to Transform Advanced Care
- The Clean Air Campaign
- The Boys & Girls Clubs of America
- Nature Conservancy
- Healthcare Georgia Foundation
- Arthritis Foundation
Starting a new project? Trying to freshen up an old one? Or just looking for a boost for team morale? Our narrative reset offers insight to engage your audience at a deeper level, to break through competitive clutter or break up apathy.
You'll learn Michael J. Fox's insight on holes that don’t stay empty, how the behavioral scientist Daniel Kahneman perfectly explains the difference between Homer Simpson and Spock, and what the US Army War College has in common with Joseph Campbell.
Everyone on your team will leave the workshop feeling refreshed and inspired, with specific tools and strategies to tell a new story.
Since time began, stories have been our instruments of change. In this workshop, we talk about how to build change narratives – stories that will get people to act.
We’ll talk about what every successful political campaign has in common, how two people changed the fate of the children of Vietnam, and why you never want to pay off your biggest credit card first.
Through stories like these, we'll leverage cutting edge insights from mindset science, behavioral economics and cognitive psychology. We'll share the power of the "one degree shift", how to change brain chemicals to overcome barriers, and the most effective narratives to turn huge problems into real progress.
You'll get new insights into what kinds of stories get people to act -- and specific ideas for how you might apply those strategies to your situation.
Setbacks are a universal part of every story. These programs draw on stories of our favorite setbacks, from Tylenol, Michael Jordan and General Douglas MacArthur. We’ll go over the surprising strategy that proved most successful in a study of 140 companies facing crises.
We’ll connect those stories to key insights from neuroscience, resilience and hardiness, and the power of the “explanatory style.” We’ll talk about why failure can strengthen your relationships with your team and your customers. And you’ll learn why one of our favorite mantras has become “Don’t worry. It’s only the abyss.”
At the end of this program, you'll have a new attitude about setbacks, and specific new strategies to overcome them.
Sometimes you just need a good new story for yourself. Our creative kickstart gives you a whole new set of stories you can tell.
With the creative kickstart, we go one step farther: we work with your team to create a new architecture for your narrative. We identify the weaknesses that might be holding you back, and the opportunities you might not have seen before.
Then we build a fresh narrative playbook, with a set of sample stories, strategies and insights that you can use to fuel your narrative for years to come.