Raf Stevens

The first corporate storyteller of our country
Raf used to be a pirat, and you?

Raf Stevens (1971) is your "business storytelling" expert. He teaches people and brands how stories create powerful communication. Together with companies he looks for honest and authentic communication that transcends slick sales pitches and can touch the audience.

In his younger years, Raf Stevens was a convinced pirate. Radio pirate. At fifteen he was DJ Steve Dejong at Radio Balen, one of the many small illegal local radio stations that existed at that time. "If you are presenting, you try to tell a story to your audience and so hope to keep them glued to the radio. I think my passion for stortytelling more or less comes from there".


"After high school I had to decide what to study. I wanted nothing more than playing records, so I opted for a short and easy training, marketing. Gradually, my fascination for communication grew. I decided to add a master from the Free University of Brussels (VUB).

During his studies, Raf Stevens enjoys life. A strong contrast with his later career. "When I graduated, I immediately dived into business. I was an ambitious career man, every three years I changed jobs. I always wanted more and better and further".

Raf Stevens did that for thirteen years, until he asked the question where his career would lead him further. A friend proposed him to become a partner in a young advertising agency, where he eagerly went. "That way I got out of the traditional rat race and I came across a nice sector. Yet I noticed after a while that I fell into my old habits again".

Steve Jobs

A speech by Apple CEO Steve Jobs created a turning point. "Life is too short to live somebody else's life," and from one day to the other I changed my work life. "Raf Stevens went part-time teaching at a college and in his free time he devoured books and magazines about other ways of communicating. So he came back to visit his old love: storytelling.

Stevens deeply understood that stories are the most efficient means to convince an audience and he started a blog about his findings. There were many reactions. "Initially I wrote my blog in Dutch, but when I got emails from abroad from people who were interested in the content, I switched to English".

Own Story

Raf Stevens leaves classic sales pitch behind him and search with companies for the story that they can transfer to their employees and their target audience. Authenticity, that is the key for Raf Stevens. What started as a hobby has grown into a full time occupation. Yet Stevens refuses to back into the classical system steps. "I choose for myself what projects I take and which not, and I enjoy tremendously." One of his greatest achievements is a collaboration with Janssen Pharmaceutica, but also small businesses rely on his services.

Everyone author

Since October 2011, there is his book 'No story, no fans”, one of the first books in Europe, which is based on crowdsourcing and crowdfunding. "It touches on the essential question that all companies need to solve: Is your own business in touch with its stories?" says Jean Philip De Tender, network manager of the Flemish public television channel Eén about the book. "Raf Stevens handles managers exactly the tools that can help them in their quest for that story."

Raf Stevens also launched the website "everybody author ', a platform that helps known and lesser known authors to tell their story and to market it: from tweet to book and from book to business.

Done with intricate figures and presentations making it difficult to get your message across. This speaker helps you to tell the story that inspires your audience and encourages action.

It's not about the brand, it's about your story

Creativity, Innovation, Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, Communication, Public Relations, Creativity, Innovation, Trends, Inspiring, Social Media & Networking

This may be surprising to those of you with the word “Brand” in your title. It’s tempting to think like a brand channel, all brand, all the time. Often brands forget “why” they do what they do. The “why” can sound so much like a cliché, it becomes meaningless. It is all about the story.
Storytelling should be your core ingredient for any good engagement marketing. Here is a quick reality check: How much of your pitch is about you, your product, your service, or your solution? Do you open a call by suggesting to your dream client that you would like to spend time with them showing them your products? That makes you the hero in the story. But you’re not the hero.
You’re the hero’s guide, their mentor, and their partner in their journey. Your dream client is the hero in the story. It’s their adventure. It’s their dragon to slay. You only carry the sword. Start telling story. Stop bragging about your brand.

Storytelling & Marketing: when Don Draper is no longer in charge!

Creativity, Innovation, Marketing, Communication, Public Relations, Creativity, Innovation, Trends, Inspiring, Social Media & Networking

Many of the brands companies work on were born in the ‘Mad Men’ era of the 1950s and 60s. Much of our marketing mindset comes from that era. Men like Don Draper would tell us what our brands stood for, and then he’d tell consumers. There were captive audiences with three television networks, so brands were defined by these Mad Men. Our entire marketing model historically looked like this. It was one-way command-and-control communication. Marketing guru Seth Godin called this the “TV Industrial Complex”.
But that command-and-control model is no longer effective today. It’s easier than ever to ignore traditional media. Just because we tell consumers what our brands stand for doesn’t mean they listen to us. In comes storytelling! Marketing has evolved to where the brands are owned not by Don Draper, but by the consumer. And stories drive what people are talking about!

Stories are the catalyst of changes in the organization and of switches in the company culture

Creativity, Innovation, Marketing, Communication, Public Relations, Creativity, Innovation, Trends, Inspiring, Social Media & Networking

They are the eldest form of handing out information to others. Through the power of stories we are able to inspire people and to get things done. Stories can also live their own life, they can be a part of the company culture and they are working as a strong magnet to connect more people to each other and to their companies.
In all periods of time telling stories has proven to be successful. Nevertheless we still see that facts and figures are predominant in business and change communication even if there’s a lot of research that proves that changes can only be realized when people have the feeling they’re really taken into consideration and that information is directly shared with them. This means that corporate storytelling has an important part to play. A good story is spread like a virus. What characterizes today your text about your mission, your vision and your strategy? Is it a real story with a beginning, a central part and an end or is it a mere analysis?

Leading through stories: forget about John Wayne

HR, Corporate Culture, Leadership, Strategy, Management, Motivation

Until recently managers could simply influence others by the power of their position and the right to command that accompanied that position. Bosses had what we call formal authority. It ensured respect and obedience from those beneath to get many things done: the John Wayne school of management. There you are, high in the saddle. So you mosey into town, bark out some orders, watch everybody scatter to get the job done, and then you ride on to the next problem situation—mission accomplished.
Today we should forget all about the John Wayne style of management. Leaders should above all be good storytellers. Stories motivate the listener to ask, "How can I work better?" Using stories is a powerful leadership tool. A leadership story should convey that there is a way to ‘helicopter’ above our circumstances. If you lead with stories your audience is ready to listen to you more.

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Languages of the keynote
English, Dutch