I saw this come across Facebook today. It is one of the most compressed yet still potent and emotionally moving stories I’ve read in some time. Working in marketing something we are always trying to do is distill things down to their essence. When we do this it’s easy to become generic and bland, unfortunately missing that elusive essence. That story that is told over and over again. This story has data, emotion, character and a sense of place. Even a sense of dialog even though it’s a whale.
As marketers we can all learn a great deal from such stories.
No idea who deserves credit for this but thank you none the less.
Boy was that tough.
I finally managed to whittle down a years worth of photos into three I could submit for the photo book.
Click this one to see all three;
Thanks for your input so far! From 24 I’ve got it down to 9 images. This is proving tough. Hard to remove myself from the process.
Do I insist on ‘that’ photo being in because it’s my kid and I find him super cute? Or is it actually a good photo?
I trimmed allot of photos that I thought were ‘cool’ but just didn’t strike the ‘unique enough’ tone or failed to tell me enough of a story. I do feel I’ve got it down to a decent selection where each have a narrative and/or offer an unseen perspective along with strong composition. But who am I to say… it’s all IMHO, that’s why I need your help
Here is the short list. Help me chose, see instructions on commenting in the prior post. Click to see the gallery!
It’s that time of year again. Submissions are open for the Microsoft Photo Book. Each year the photography community at Microsoft bands together to create a book that raises money for the United Way.
I have put together a gallery with some of my favorite photos from 2012 and would love your help selecting three to submit.
A sample of three of the twenty four images;
To comment/rate: Bottom left click ‘add comment’
Then add your details and opinion (you don’t have to use a real email I don’t think)
I have now completed two 365 Projects. I will not be doing one for 2013.
2011 – Primarily DSLR
2012 – Primarily Camera Phone
It really has been fun making sure I made a photo every day. It has given me inspiration and helped me develop creative building blocks. Now I plan to pause, take a step back, focus and create intentionally.
Using a camera phone this year helped me stretch even more to ‘get the shot’ with lower grade tech (such as the Union Flag below). It also resulted in some pretty subpar photos getting in. I feel 2011’s DSLR (And associated developing of photos) helped me grow further across the year.
So, what next?
I’m considering publishing a photo book. Perhaps using photos that the two years of 365 Project furnished me with. What do you think?
Should I do it?
What would you like to see in that book?
It’s funny how it feels when a project is finally done, finished, tucked up and put to bed. A certain lightness rests on ones being, the part of the left hand side of the brain that managed that particular project can rest. At least momentarily before being set off on another adventure.
Today I was finally able to ship two of these books to Mexico. It’s the end of a journey that started in the spring of 2010. Last covered in the blog here. I’m excited for ‘J’ to get ahold of the books. One for her and one for the school.
For me the project represents two things;
- The triumph of beauty and art (you have to read the back story)
- That if you care about it and put your mind to it anything really is possible
The funny thing about these two things is that they represent the Right and Left Hemispheres of the brain quite nicely. One is the source, the connection, the creativity. The other is, well, getting stuff done. I also feel it my responsibility to call out the underlined; note how I don’t just say “you can do anything”. I don’t think you can. OK, so maybe you can. My point here is simple; rather than trying to do anything chose to do things that you are passionate about and love. Then work hard at them. I heard a quote recently “chose what’s easy, and work hard”. Ala Marcus Buckingham it’s about finding your innate talents and investing in them so that they become strengths.
Here’s the photo again incase you missed it last time;
Formula One returned to the US in November 2012. I was working hosting customers so didn’t get the sort of focus on photographing the event that I’d like to. However I was pleased with how many of the photos turned out.
Start at the beginning of the gallery here, or click the panorama to view it in it’s full glory.
Jackie Stewart, Kimi Raikkonen, Michael Schumacher and even Matt Leblanc all feature in the gallery.
What sort of story should a company tell to help sell it’s products? What should be shown? Traditional technology product marketing has relied on technology to sell technology. With technology now being so pervasive that no longer works and we have to actually engage the customer. Add to that the attention economy and this is something all marketers really have to prioritize. What sort of stories should we tell and how?
It’s true that showing off some of cool tech and devices can trigger the anticipated-emotional “I want that” response (envy, lust, covet). I would maintain however that’s the story of the company who made the product, and that whilst it’s an important part their strategy and tools and that those things should be shown that it’s not the story that should be told.
OK so you can argue that it’s simple product placement but this LA CIS episode with the Microsoft Surface that uses the Surface as a prop (shown) that supports the story (told) of the characters is a good example. It’s a good example because it’s in the context of a TV show it has to be subtle as subtle as possible, that’s a forcing function and it’s why I use it to help illustrate the point. The story being told is that of the characters and one that us as a viewer can project ourselves into. And the reason why product placement works is that we then imagine ourselves as that character using that product and the intent is for us to take that away from the sofa and into the store.
The best story telling is when we as marketers tell stories that resonate with our customers on an immediate-emotional level in personally relevant stories that attain and retain people’s attention (and we all know how important the attention economy, right?). By engaging them emotionally we then have them want to do the same thing with us (as per product placement). And because they relate to the story they are able to effectively have a ‘mind test drive’, a ‘try before you buy’ experience where they project themselves into the story we are telling. They then want the same ‘props’ in their lives, they want to buy and we don’t have to sell anything.
And as the Hopi Indian’s say “The one who tells stories rules the world”.
Whoops. Two things happened today.
First up; Today I did my “every once in a while” check for SmugMug Windows Phone 7 apps and low and behold discovered one was released around about the time of the birth of my second son – that might explain why I’d not noticed it. This is GREAT news as it means I can publish dailies directly from my phone vs. these insane bulk updates. However I’m mildly surprised that after all my tweets to @SmugMug on the matter that they didn’t have a note to ping me (and others?) who had been braying for it.
That leads me to the second thing… a bulk update of photos. Now the advantage of the bulk update is I was able to swap out some camera phone photos with photos taken with my DSLR… I guess I can always have temporary or stand in photos from my phone for dailies and if there are photos I take with my DSLR that I love, process and publish then I can swap out a day here or there.
After three months of not publishing I am quietly happy to realize I didn’t skip and days. Both photos link to the 365 Project for 2012 gallery.
OK, shock value done with. We’re not all terrible at it. Even if we are good at story telling we are bad at it some times. In general however I feel like many professionals have lost the way on this one. But why is it? We are a bunch of passionate, dedicated, driven, ambitious individuals who care. Yet so often we still get it wrong. Why? The base line will always be “not putting enough” into it, work, time, focus, learning. That will always get you. It’s got me before. I’d like to think I try stay aware of it so that I can learn and grow… risk isn’t a problem if you have a plan to recover, right? What about when you are putting you all into it and it still doesn’t work out. Why is that?
What else could it be? Being wrapped up in our own reality? I’m drawn to this one, conceptually, regarding the problem being discussed. I’ve fallen into the trap. Even when I’m 100% focused on not falling into the trap. It’s hard. Seriously. You can spend all day, 100%, focused on the customer, trying to solve the problem. Being hell bent on doing so. Then when you are trying to get to sleep that night you challenge yourself and you realize that it’s because no matter how hard YOU try. It’s YOU that’s doing it.
In short we have to get over ourselves. Check our ego at the door? Obvious, right? I mean if we are really focused on improving ourselves and what we do then we will take that step (trust me, you will) but it’s more than that. We need to break down the barriers between not just ourselves and our customers, not just ourselves and the various people we rely on (and who rely on us) to get our job down, but also the barriers in our own minds. Next step? Reflect with others and encourage debate with the people you trust.
So why is it that we are so terrible at story telling? If we can’t get over ourselves we will be focused on ourselves. We will not be focused on the person we are telling the story for. Because if someone is to believe our story. To engage with our story. To embrace it and live it then it needs to become THEIR story. Just like when you imagine that you are Batman when you watch a Batman movie. Oh, you don’t? It’s fun… try it.
So stop trying to sell. Start thinking about what it would be like to buy. To want to buy. It starts with the first person you share your idea with. They need to buy it. And not because you sold them on it. And if you can’t tell a story that results in people wanting to buy what you have… then to be perfectly honest I’d suggest you try telling a different story.