Who tells your story?

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“The problem with television is the picture.” – Bill Mosher

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I never expected a documentary producer to say those words, so imagine my surprise when PBS Visionaries Producer, Bill Mosher, said them in front of a captive audience.  The discussion of the conference was storytelling and his comment slapped me in the face as I evaluated how we tell our story at the university center.  After watching amazing storytellers captivate an audience and nearly bring everyone to tears with their voice alone, I started to think he was right.  Reading, writing, and listening all leave room for the imagination of the participant.  Suddenly, the participant becomes part of the experience.  They fill in the blanks with their own memories, experiences, and ideas, and the story becomes real to them.  I began to wonder if we were spoon-feeding our audience a story that we wanted to tell, but they didn’t want to hear.

When I think of the stories that I remember and the experiences I share, I do so because they have significant meaning to me.  As marketers and storytellers, it is our responsibility to share the things that we do in a way that makes people want to talk about them.  Every experience a customer has with a company, product, service, or organization helps build a brand and tell a story.  The goal of marketing isn’t to teach customers to regurgitate a scripted story, but to make them feel like valued partners who share the story because they want to.  Isn’t that the goal of learning? I still believe that as marketers we are educators and we should be empowering the people we are marketing to (teaching) to be our advocates – not memorize the correct answers.

When you’re telling your story, are you leaving room for the customer?

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