Inconvenient Truth: When A (Visual) Story > 1000 Words

One of the best speakers I’ve heard in a long time, Nancy Duarte of Duarte Design, spoke about the power of storytelling to my beloved Watermark networking group.  Nancy is best known for creating Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth “slideshow,” so she knows what she’s talking about when it comes to telling stories.

slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations

Slide:ology:Looks Like It Tells a Good Story

At the cornerstone of her storytelling philosophy is the emotional connection.  “Rather than a name or logo, or tagline that reflects what a company thinks of itself, brand is what a company stands for in the hearts and minds of its customers; to be successful, the company must have an emotional connection with the consumer,” says Nancy Duarte in her book Slide:ology.

Duarte’s expertise revolves around Powerpoint, of course, but you can extend this exact principle in a number of directions.  Take Sunrise Packaging.  They make a compelling case for product package design to tell a story to the consumer.  Think about it… What really tells the story in most consumer packaged goods?  The junk in the bottle, or the look, feel and voice of the bottle?

And then there is my Conformer world, and I wonder why the mail packaging world gets delegated to the mail room or fulfillment house decision makers instead of being viewed as the very first opportunity to make that emotional connection with the recipient.  We know departments and agencies full of people creating sales kits, media kits, sample kits, not to mention e-commerce sites fiercely competing for loyalty, and yet the package that all that STUFF goes into looks miserable, beaten up and just sad.

Read more about a pathetic package in Hall of Shame #10: The Story You’re Telling.  It tells a very sad story,  and its sender may not realize that the story ends badly… for him.

-Sari McConnell at smcconnell@conformer.com

About Sari McConnell

Sari oversees strategic partnership opportunities and heads up Conformer’s San Francisco office. Sari was formerly the managing director of a venture-backed music and multimedia agency in San Francisco and New York. She began her career in brand management at Hallmark Cards, Clorox, and LeapFrog. Sari is an appointed member of the Bay Area Regional Council of Northwestern University and is an active volunteer at her children’s schools. She received her MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and her B.A. from Northwestern University as well.
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