It’s A Good Time To Be In Stories

Steve Rubel says what some have been saying for awhile now–there’s a growing need for storytellers. He actually says, “digital storytellers,” but I don’t see the need to make that distinction. The story will be told digitally. We know that.

Harvard Business Review last month noted that most executives cannot articulate the objective, scope, and advantage of their business in a simple statement. “If they can’t, neither can anyone else,” HBR posits. That’s not good.
Remember, much of the developed world is coping with The Attention Crash. If a company can’t tell pithy, authentic stories in the right places at the right time to the right people, someone else will. For more on this, I highly recommend the book Made to Stick.
As Jason Calacanis notes, there is a big market for people who know how to create or cultivate compelling content that pulls in people. To that end my employer is starting up Edelman Studios – a virtual content house that will identify online talent and pair them with brands. Many in the Hollywood community, ex-journalists and advertising/PR creatives will orient their careers in such a direction. Don’t be left behind. There’s plenty of need here.

I reoriented my career in this direction after reading the groundbreaking book, Digital Aboriginal in 2003. Of course, copywriters are already there from a skill set perspective. It’s just about understanding clever ads aren’t going to move many consumers, but well told stories will. The digital environment is a good place for these stories, but by no means is it the only place for them to live.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.