Tell Me a Story

September 13, 2023

Tell me a short good story 


The modern consumer’s attention is more fragmented than ever. Platforms like TikTok, Reels,  and YouTube Shorts epitomize the demand for brevity, and I personally believe they are contributing to the growing inability of people to focus their attention on anything more meaningful than a 10-second video clip. Of course, as storytellers and marketers, we’ve adapted, honing our skills to weave engaging tales in mere moments, seizing audience attention and whetting its appetite for more. But I’m not so sure if this is a good thing. I think there’s a need for caution and introspection. Where are we going with all of this? 


As someone who tends to be very introspective, I spend a lot of time asking myself “Why?” I have always been curious as to why something works the way it does or why something makes me feel the way it does. In all honesty, I spent most of my childhood taking apart toys to see how they worked and then often questioned why I made that decision when I couldn’t put said toy back together again. 


As an adult, I have spent the last thirty years appreciating and dissecting clever branding and marketing. I’ve often tried to understand what made some brands so attractive or certain ads so powerful. I have spent more than my fair share of time observing and questioning the industry I work in, and I've come to understand and appreciate one unassailable truth: At the heart of every great advertising campaign lies powerful storytelling. 


It’s all about cutting right through our logical sensibilities and speaking directly to our emotional selves. We live in an era of too much information. People are flooded with data on a daily basis and have become guarded and cautious. Facts, figures, outrageous promises…They’ve heard it before. Cutting through that shield is the key. It isn’t just about reciting facts or showcasing features of a product. It's about reaching out, touching the heartstrings, and evoking emotions. Through emotional elements, stories build bridges between brands and their audiences, transcending the barriers of indifference. And there’s a LOT of indifference out there. What does it take to really cut through that kind of apathy? Sometimes it just takes a good story and the time to tell it. 


So, what’s the essence of good storytelling? How does one keep the audience’s attention over the length of the story? Ironically, it’s being an active listener. Listening helps you learn from your audience, and when you really know your audience well, you can speak to the topics that connect with them most. People pay attention to stories they can relate to even if they take more than 10 seconds to tell.   


At WiredViews, we immerse ourselves in the narratives our clients share with us. (Frankly, it’s my favorite part of new client conversations. It piques my curiosity and gets my brain going a million-whys-per-minute!) Their passion, vision, and mission become our guiding stars, and the insights they share about their customers help us dial the messaging in. By listening intently, we can then weave tales that not only reflect their spirit but resonate emotionally with potential customers. And that’s so much fun!


So, a good story can be entertaining and motivating, right?  Absolutely; but it can also add a lot of value. Don’t believe me? Let’s talk about “The Barn Find.”  I am a bit of a sports car enthusiast and in that world, a “Barn Find” is highly coveted. It’s when a rare car is discovered in an old barn, lost for ages, and covered in dust. On the surface, it may just seem like an old vehicle, at least until someone runs the VIN number and discovers the history of the car. It turns out that this car was an old racer that traveled the world winning trophies and respect from the world’s best race car drivers. With the revelation of its racing pedigree and its duels on famous circuits, every scratch and dent starts to tell tales of its glorious past, dramatically enhancing its value. Next thing you know, it’s on the auction block for an eyebrow-raising amount of money. Not just because of its condition but because of the amazing story behind it. Stories can, and often do, transform the mundane into the exceptional.


I recognize the power of brevity, but I still think that as marketers, we need to champion the beauty and depth of long-form storytelling. It’s far too powerful to cast aside like a dusty car, no longer needed.  A glimpse can  be intriguing, but genuine emotional connections often require time to nurture. Such connections foster loyalty, bridging brands and their patrons in lasting relationships. My philosophy? Never sacrifice depth for brevity. A quick introduction to gauge interest? Maybe, but I want to get into a deeper, more meaningful conversation if there is one to be had. Isn’t that why many of us got into this profession in the first place?

Sean Rieger serves as President here at WiredViews. Before joining us he built digital marketing teams, tactics, and strategies for Honeywell, Rice University, the Houston Rockets, and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

When he's not connecting the dots for clients at work he enjoys racing cars, making music, building synthesizers, and camping with his family. Other than that, he's not all that interesting, but reach out to connect with him on LinkedIn he's always ready to talk about how he can help.