Learning Story Telling in the style of Jokowi: from Avenger to Game of Thrones

Winter is Coming. This sentence was very meaningful when delivered by President Jokowi, when he was the keynote speaker at the 2018 IMF-WB plenary session in Nusa Dua Hall, Bali.

This is the second time Jokowi has made a speech with millenial style. Previously, when delivering his speech at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN at the National Convention Center, Hanoi, last September Jokowi analogized himself as the Avengers. As the Avengers, Jokowi named the current condition of the world economy towards ‘unlimited war’ or ‘Infinity War’.

The story in the film ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, depicts a figure named ‘Thanos’ who threatens to wipe out half the population of the earth. Jokowi said he and his fellow “Avengers” were ready to prevent this.

While in his speech at the IMF-WB 2018, Jokowi depicted the dominance of developed economies as well as the Game of Thrones (GoT) series.

“The Trade War is increasing and technological innovation has left many industries shaken. Developing countries are also experiencing huge market pressures. With so many problems in the world economy, it is enough for us to say that: Winter is Coming, “Jokowi said.

Both GoT and Avengers have the same common thread. The Avengers film tells the story of Thanos, who is worried that natural resources will not be enough to support all the inhabitants of the galaxy so that half must be sacrificed. On the other hand, the Avengers want to find solutions by ‘sitting together’.

While the film series Game of Thrones, which aired on HBO and was lifted from the novel series A Song of Ice and Fire by George Raymond Richard Martin, tells of the struggle for power and throne in the Westeros continent. Driven by lust for power, various political intrigues and evil consensus emerged to dominate The Iron Throne, the royal throne. In fact, there is a more massive threat, namely Beyond the Wall. The threat of prolonged snowfall was led by White Walker and Night King, with a dead troop named Wights. The two rulers of darkness can turn humans into Wights.

The dramatic analogy presented by Jokowi is really relevant to reflecting the 2018 economy. Throughout this year, global economic conditions were noisy due to trade wars that gave birth to protectionism and egocentrism between countries. In fact, there are real dangers in front of our eyes such as hunger, inequality between countries, and global warming that should make the world united to find a way out together.

His speech caused an excitment in the world, reaping the big smile of IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and laughter of World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and hundreds of guests and delegates. Except for Jokowi, none of the world leaders has made a speech in the style of storytelling through the analogy of film.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said, Jokowi has a standard of excellence and firmness in delivering speeches. In fact, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim expressed his inferiority when comparing his speech with President Jokowi’s speech. “It’s time we go home because it doesn’t get better than this,” Jim joked.

Not only reap appreciation from the delegation present, the President’s speech also reaped praise on the Twitter timeline, and became a trending topic. On the same day Jokowi gave a speech, until 17:00 IWST #GameOfThrones had been tweeted more than 18,400 times.

In international media, I read five foreign media writing news that appreciated the speech. Bangkokpos, New Indian Express, Japan Times, Reuters, The Straits Times said Jokowi’s speech made the delegation not feel tense and bleak with the news of the global economy. Jokowi managed to break the ice with the speech of Game of Thrones.

Actually this style of storytelling had begun Jokowi at the CEO Forum at the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in March 2018. At that time he said today’s politicians must compete with Netflix to win the attention of the public. According to him, politicians have no choice but to change politics into reality shows. “Because if we don’t do that, everyone will only watch” House of Cards “and” Stranger Things “,” he said, followed by the laughter of world leaders who were present in the event.

The style of President Jokowi’s speech in several international forums has indeed looked different compared to other world leaders who are generally rigid, full of numbers, and meticulous. His speech feels light, close to the listener and contains elements of present. Not surprisingly, a standing applause is given for each of his speeches.

Story Telling is the most essential method for conveying messages through sharing stories, although this is not new. Storytelling is a basic human need such as food. If food makes us alive, stories make our lives more meaningful, says Irish philosopher Richard Kearney in his book On Stories.

Even in 4.0 industry today, said Patrick Herridge, UK Managing Director of MWWPR, a European public relations agency, the ‘Secret Sauce’ of Public Relations is a term that is often used this time: Story Telling.

In fact, in The Holmes Report, there was a survey conducted by Kethum PR, a PR agency in Europe in 2012 that supported this facts. From their poll results to 650 PR practitioners from 35 countries around the world, regarding the most important factor contributing to a successful PR campaign, 71% of respondents answered: Great Storytelling.

Five years later the 2017 Global Communication Report from the USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism released new facts about the most important trends that will affect the future of Public Relations in the next five years. 88% of Professional PR respondents and 80% of Professional Marketing answer: Digital Story Telling. Even when asked to students what made them interested in future PR trends, the answer was the same. 72% answered Digital Story Telling.

That Insight answers how the ability to tell stories is still essential in this era of disruption. Just look at the latest, most innovative global brands, Apple, Facebook, Coca-Cola, Amazon, Google, Tesla. They all understand how to make interesting stories from the brand.

We don’t need to go far, just learn from Jokowi how to create stories.

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