In dramatic story structure, the “inciting moment” is the point at which something happens to truly focus the story. It’s the dramatic twist, the moment at which the plot thickens, when the other shoe drops, and a few other hackneyed phrases. It is defined clumsily in the Wiki as “the incident without which there would be no story.”
But, it’s an important concept. Think about your brand story (you knew I was going there, right?) At what point in your story does the inciting moment occur? What happens? What happens next? What does the inciting moment lead your brand to do? What does it lead your customers to do?
At technology companies, the inciting moment often comes about as some significant technological or usability breakthrough. Some tech companies — like Apple, HP and IBM — have had numerous inciting moments that have led to changes in the way we live and work.
Our own inciting moment came when marketing guru, author and speaker Seth Godin asked me what was different about the new agency I had formed. His simple question caused me and my team to analyze and explore the way we were conducting business ultimately to discover that we were practicing brand storytelling — which we call Brandtelling. This changed the game for us and our clients.
What about your brand story? What’s your inciting moment and how has it impacted your story?