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December 02, 2008




The more I see these hackneyed "storytelling/authenticity" marketing posts (and I've seen at least 1000 I think) the more my head hurts. The whole idea of storytelling points towards:
1. questionable authenticity ("story")
2. a unidirectional flow ("telling")

I find the whole focus on the company as a person, as you have here, to be rooted in a pretty old advertising paradigm. The old "give it a personality" thinking of planters nuts, Uncle Toby et al. Sure, think of Ben and Jerry's as being wacky, fun people if you want, but under the branding is Unilever and a bunch of accountants and stockholders.

The term "authenticity" is also being crushed under the abuse. "Create authentic experiences for your audience". It's hard to even read that with a straight face.

What about the old "focus on producing a great product experience". It's simple, it's what we all want, and it'll save us all having to read stuff like "make your company a blind date" without ripping the screen from the desk and throwing it across the room.

=) Marc

David Polinchock


Appreciate your comments, but couldn't disagree with you more. The point of the post is that companies need to tell the same story across everything they do. Oddly, the most recent post on your blog talks about the current advertising campaign for Australia and you commented "the ads are persuasive stories beautifully told." It's all storytelling and we're simply saying that if Australia was actually a horrible, crappy place (which it clearly isn't!), then their ads would not be good stories beautifully told. Brands that are authentic (which we define as being true to themselves) and, of course, deliver a great product, are the companies that we believe will be successful in the future. And creating some character is not creating good stories and isn't what our exercises try to uncover. We find that many brands don't really know who they are and what value they bring to their audience. The blind date exercise is just one piece of the process.

And you're 100% with your end statement. Without a great product experience, everything else is meaningless. But, many great products failed due to crappy experiences around the product, like bad customer service, etc. Everything has to work together to create one, great brand experience.

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