The blank page: How to achieve more by telling a bigger story with Anna Griffin

« More Insights

Anna Griffin (CMO of Intercom) is back for a second round of 3-Minute Marketing!

Book a 30 minute call

Blog posts are great! But sometimes, it’s just easier to talk it out.
Reserve 30 minutes with a strategist and get 30 hours worth of value.
Book a call

We’re talking about a topic that’s very near and dear to my heart, based on Anna’s TEDx talk called “The Blank Page.” It’s all about how changing the stories we tell can make a dramatic impact on the trajectory of our lives, careers and the companies we grow.

I was excited to dig in and understand how it could benefit marketers in particular. So I asked her, “Can you summarize your TED Talk for me and explain how can it impact brands and marketers?”

Show notes:

  1. For one instant in your life, we’re all created 1,000% equal.
  2. As time goes on, you become the product of the stories you’re told — by your parents, community, leaders, etc. This shapes your belief system.
  3. The reason some people achieve more greatness and success in life comes down to the stories shaping their beliefs.
  4. If you don’t like the trajectory you’re on, the answer is to change your story to a bigger and better one that serves you. This will change your belief system, which will change your actions.
  5. This also applies to brands. Companies that tell a bigger story can achieve greater outcomes.
  6. Marketers have the power to change the story of their company. In doing so, they can transform the trajectory of the businesses they serve forever.


– You’re listening to Three Minute Marketing where we interview the world’s top growth marketing leaders and distill their knowledge into actionable bite-size insights. Now here’s your host, Chris Mechanic.

– Hello everybody, welcome to another episode of Three Minute Marketing. Super-excited to be here today with the one and only Ms. Anna Griffin. Anna is a very seasoned marketing executive. She’s currently CMO at Intercom, which is an awesome growth plan that kind of breaks down the sales and marketing divide. Previously, she’s been at CA Technologies and leadership roles at Juniper Networks and just a very, very impressive individual and fun talking to as well, it turns out. Anna, thank you so much for joining us here today.

– My pleasure, excited to be here and thanks for inviting me.

– Absolutely. All right, well, you know the drill. Today I want to talk about your much-acclaimed TED Talk that you delivered, The Blank Page. I would love it if you could summarize that for me. And then as we were discussing, there are definitely some tie-ins for marketers as well as brands. So if you could just kind of connect those two for us together in the next three minutes, that would be awesome.

– Yeah, yeah, yeah. Absolutely. So the notion of the blank page is that for one instant and one moment in your life, we are all created 1,000% equal. And what happens as time, days, week, months, years go on, you start to become a product of the stories you’re told, the stories that you might be told by your parents, by your community, by your political leaders, by your no matter where you are in the world, you start to become a product of the stories you’ve been told and they start to shape your belief system and this notion of, you know, why are some people set out to do more in life than others and why do some people achieve greatness and other people stall. If we are all truly created and born equal, it really comes down to the story, the power of the stories that you are told at a very early age. And if you don’t like those stories, how do you start to change those stories? Because the mind is a very, very powerful tool. It cannot just accept that things happen. It constantly is sequencing why things happen. And it believes in stories. These become your ultimate belief system. So if you want to achieve something bigger, better, greater in life, and you feel like some, you have to change your story. You have to set yourself for greatness and for potential. So you have to tell a really big story about your promise in the world, your purpose in the world, what you were born to achieve, can achieve. And then that starts to manifest. Now, people often say, you know, that’s interesting. Now how does that apply into corporate America or your world? Well, it’s really no different for a company than it is a human being and particularly for a brand. Myself as a brand-builder, you know, you can tell yourself a very specific story for your company. We’re going to be the fastest, you know, AI machine, enabling, you know, engagement across the customer life cycle or we’re going to change the face of communications forever because we’re going to invent a new way to take a digital business and make it personal. We’re going to remove the barriers between humans and technologies. We’re going to go create, you know, something powerful in the world. And that’s all a story that you set for yourself and your potential. So you know, the power of story ultimately shapes your future. So my advice is you tell a really big story for yourself and/or you tell a small story. But that’s going to determine your future. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. There’s really no way around it. You are a product of the stories you are told. So if you don’t like your story, change it up. Tell yourself a new one.

– Love it. That’s a wrap. That was perfect. That was awesome, Anna. Thank you very much. And you want to know what it made made me think about was I’ll just say this really quickly so we can wrap but you ever seen that Eddie Murphy movie, “Coming to America,” where he’s like a king?

– Oh, totally.

– He’s a king.

– Totally.

– So he’s got that story of a king in his mind. And he comes and he has no money and nothing. But of course he ends up manifesting riches and wealth and happiness, just like a king would, even though temporarily he’s living in this little shack of an apartment with roaches and all the non.

– Totally. Even take another one of his movies. Take “Trading Places” and just that ability to say, “No, you actually are a human with insight “and instincts and you can be successful.” And remember that movie? I’m terrible. I don’t think that that movie would ever live in today’s society. But in that movie. But you had seen it was about the power of trading places. And anybody can start to become, you know, high potential or low potential just based on the influences around them.

– Absolutely, it’s such a powerful concept and such a thing where like I think a lot of brands are saying, “Hey, how can we tell a more powerful story?” But it’s very rare that individuals think how can I tell myself? How can I craft my own narrative in my mind? So I love this topic. I want to stay true to our brand promise of brevity here. So let’s wrap. But I am interested. Well, I’m sure that the listeners are loving this and they probably want to learn more about you as well as Intercom. Where can folks go to get a little more Anna Griffin in their lives?

– Oh my goodness, well, first, much more interesting to learn about Intercom. So you can check out Intercom at But Anna Griffin, it’s funny. You can Google me but I share a name with a very famous television marketer, a woman named Anna Griffin who creates stationary. And she sells on The Home Network. And so you’ll probably end up coming into stationary if you Google me. But you can always check me out on LinkedIn or any social platform and I’m always happy to engage and share and interact.

– Love it. Well, thank you so much, Anna. That’s a wrap. I hope that you’ll come back again. But this was really great.

Anna Griffin

Anna GriffinCMO

Chris Mechanic

Chris MechanicCEO & Co-Founder

Podcasts Info:

Most newsletters suck...

So while we technically have to call this a daily newsletter so people know what it is, it's anything but.

You won't find any 'industry standards' or 'guru best practices' here - only the real stuff that actually moves the needle.

You may be interested in:

How successful marketing leaders hire and retain A+ talent with Christian Campagnuolo

How successful marketing leaders hire and retain A+ talent with Christian Campagnuolo

Today on 3-Minute Marketing, I’ve got badass CMO Christian Campagnuolo (CMO at Revature) back for round 2! You can check out my first episode with Christian here. This time, Christian shared his thoughts on a big topic for marketing leaders right now: staffing and retention. Specifically, “How do you find and keep great marketers, especially...
Read this