Now it’s my turn…

by Tom Scholl, CMO, LivePicture, LLC

What’s so important about storytelling? And why would we dedicate a blog to it?

This is my first blog – hopefully the first of many. I’m Tom Scholl, Chief Marketing Officer of LivePicture,  a company founded to help trade show exhibitors give visitors an experience far beyond what is normally offered. I intend to write about ways to deliver that experience. While LivePicture makes wide use of technology, I’ll reach back in history to discuss the importance of storytelling and some challenges it currently faces. So here we go…

Once upon a time most important messages were conveyed through stories. The Old and New testaments. The Quran. The Bhagavad Gita and many more ancient religious stories. These all reach far back into human history. Storytelling continued through the ages to modern day, with tellers as diverse as Aesop, Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Hemmingway (I’ve named a few of my favorites) and a legion of others. So why write (or read) a blog on storytelling?

Because there is a sinister group working to eliminate stories, especially in marketing messages.

Maybe you’ve heard some of their propaganda: “Make it short, people don’t have time to read all those words.” (They probably don’t if you tell an uninteresting story.)  “You can sum it up with bullet points.” (Go beyond four or five points and you risk losing your reader.) “Be sure to get in our mission statement it covers everything we stand for so that’s probably all you need.” (And it sounds like hundreds of other boring statements.) These poor souls often don’t realize their story-killing is also killing sales. They also don’t realize what a good story about their product, service or company can do for them.

Yes, we’re storytellers.

In my case, I’ve been one most of my life.  I’m still using my storytelling skills but my marketing storyteller days began in earnest with my first job in advertising over 50 years ago. I quickly learned from the more experienced writers that telling “stories” on behalf of our clients was most successful. I also discovered that stories can be told through every media possible from singing radio commercials to PowerPoint, to the Internet. Here’s one example of marketing “stories” I’ve told. This radio commercial, for a defunct airline, had the advantage of featuring one of the greatest storytelling voices of his time, Orson Welles.

But this isn’t a story, it’s a blog. What am I up to?

Yes, it is a story! This blog is a story ABOUT storytelling. It begins by stating a problem (the small but steady movement to “skip the story – keep it short and fast). It gives a bit of history of storytelling and moves on to mention how storytelling is used in content for websites, presentations, blogs, PowerPoint, brochures and any other marketing materials. In future blogs, I’ll talk about storytelling: discovering what interests your audience, styles of storytelling, when not to use it and more.

What about you?

Because these blogs will be written for you I’ll also invite you to participate.  Drop me a line and tell me how you’ve used stories successfully – and not so successfully. Especially if you’re involved in marketing such as trade show exhibits.


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