Slumdog Millionaire: How to Use Circular Storytelling in Your B2B Marketing

In this episode, we break down the use of circular storytelling in Slumdog Millionaire and discuss how to apply this technique to your B2B marketing.

Episode Summary

If your marketing team keeps talking in circles about what to do next with your B2B marketing initiatives, then we have an idea for you. Stop talking in circles and start telling stories in circles. That’s right – circles. Stick with us here.

Hollywood has a tried-and-true method for hooking your audience from the first frame: circular storytelling. If you can leverage this technique effectively, your marketing content can stand out from the crowd – no matter if it’s a case study, a white paper, or a social video.

In this episode, we break down the use of circular storytelling in Slumdog Millionaire and discuss how to apply this technique to your B2B marketing.

About Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire is a 2008 British drama directed by Danny Boyle, co-directed by Loveleen Tandan, and starring Dev Patel and Freida Pinto. Simon Beaufoy wrote the screenplay, which is based on Vikas Swarup’s novel, Q & A. The story follows orphan Jamal Malik, who is selected to be a contestant on the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire – only to be accused of cheating when he’s one question away from winning the grand prize of 20M Rupees. The movie has won numerous awards, including Academy Award for Best Picture, Music, Writing, Directing, and Sound Mixing (2009) and many, many others.

What’s Circular Storytelling?

Circular storytelling is a mechanism in which the story literally ends where it began – with the same exact scene. This device hooks the audience at a point of high tension and personal crisis for the main character. Then, the movie flashes back to the opening of the narrative.

Slumdog Millionaire opens with Jamal Malik being interrogated and tortured after being accused of cheating on the game show. Through the use of flashbacks, we discover exactly how he knew the answers to each question.

Key Takeaways

What B2B Companies Can Learn From Slumdog Millionaire:

  • Start your customer journey at the end. Document customer stories from the very beginning. By doing this, you can show prospective customers real results you’ve achieved with current ones, and how you could benefit their business. Give them customer success stories, so that they can envision their future as your customer. In Slumdog Millionaire, we know that Jamal will get to the penultimate question on Who Wants to be a Millionaire – because that’s where the story begins. By spelling out the many benefits your company has to offer, you are providing your new customers proof that your organization creates results.
  • Hook ad viewers with a high-intensity intro. Bring them in the middle of the action to grab their attention. For example, you can highlight a common pain point your business can solve – and then use circular storytelling. Slumdog Millionaire starts with Jamal being brutally interrogated on how he knew the game show answers. From this moment, the central mystery of the film is established: if Jamal did not cheat, then how did he know all the answers? Similarly, highlighting a pain point Just like viewers wondered how a slumdog could know the answers, you’ll have them wondering how you can solve all their pain points for them.

*”That's always a plus point in any movie, TV show, story or ad that you're reading or watching. If you're thrown right in the middle of it, chances are you’re going to be engaged from the start. - Anagha Das

*”Everything has to start on a bang. And whether that takes you back to where you started or whether it's more just a great hook, jumping in on a bang is just something that works. If you don't have [a hook,] you're hard pressed to actually keep people along for the ride.” - Dane Eckerle

*”I've seen this in case studies where they have the results at the beginning. And then it unfolds as to how they got those results. There is a huge opportunity to do this kind of storytelling in B2B marketing.” - Colin Stamps

*”You should be doing circular storytelling with your case studies, with your customer stories, with your demos, with your prospect journey.” - Ian Faison

Episode Highlights


Watch Slumdog Millionaire

See how Mr. Beast hooks viewers

Look at how Gary Vee uses flashbacks on his predictions

Check out how we’ve used circular storytelling ourselves in The Hacker Chronicles podcast

About Remarkable!

Remarkable! is created by the team at Caspian Studios, the premier B2B Podcast-as-a-Service company. Caspian creates both non-fiction and fiction series for B2B companies. If you want a fiction series check out our new offering - The Business Thriller - Hollywood style storytelling for B2B. Learn more at

In today’s episode, you heard from Ian Faison (CEO of Caspian Studios), Dane Eckerle (Head of Development), Colin Stamps (Podcast Launch Manager), Anagha Das (B2B Content Marketing Manager), and Meredith O’Neil (Senior Producer). Remarkable was produced this week by Meredith O’Neil, mixed by Scott Goodrich, and our theme song is “Solomon” by FALAK.

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