I always hated multiple-choice exams. They left no room for imagination. But when given the chance to craft an answer—with words—I headed for the deep end and dove in headfirst. Back then the BiC Banana pen was my weapon of choice in the battle for a better GPA. It probably had something to do with their commercials.
I could write my way out of almost any problem, or piece together a better-than-satisfactory answer, usually from scratch, that often met the requirements of my good teachers, and almost always met the less-than-demanding standards of my less scholastic high school teachers (you know the ones, they fall into teaching by default, and at the expense of the really good teachers, perpetuate the cliché “Those who can, do…those who can’t, teach”). But I digress, and that’s a topic for another day.
The realization that I could write much better than I could guess (i.e., answer multiple choice questions) was likely the first indication that a future in marketing may have been my only career option. Today, words have become even more important to me. And they should be to you, too. Especially when it comes to marketing. Because they’re exponentially more valuable than they’ve ever been. They’re downright precious. In this ever shortening, short-attention-span world we live in, they must work harder, faster and bolder if they’re going to be paid attention to. Think about how many marketing images you see every day. Thousands. And each one of THEM is worth a thousand words, right? So the words that actually get written with purpose, the ones we want people to think about, they have to cut through, they have to matter, they have to work.
And that’s where stories come in. Anyone can turn words into sentences. But very few can craft stories. Stories that give voice to pictures, pique your curiosity and make you care. And when they’re really well told, they make you think about something in a new way, or change your behavior or—GASP—make you buy something.
It’s not just my imagination. It really does happen. And we usually give you multiple stories to choose from. No wrong answer.