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Once Upon a Time

Posted on January 4, 2013 and read 1,326 times

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pierno Once Upon a TimeAdam Pierno
Creative Director
Partners + Napier, Atlanta
Founder
Hunting the Spark

Our job is to communicate. And to motivate people to feel a certain way or take a specific action or group of actions. We start with a brief that outlines the problem. We put together an idea and get it in front of the people we hope to move.

So often it’s a really small thing that we assemble and slip in front of people. OUR BRAND IS FRIENDLY. A sliver. The smaller or shorter it is, the more directly we ask for action. CLICK HERE. We have a burden to communicate so much in so little and yet most of the time, we jump from a brief into concepts and executions that might take the form of something so minor. We wonder why it is so often ignored.

And yet think about the work that moves you the most. As a professional, but more as a person (you are still technically one of those). When you get to a microsite that implies more depth around the brand than it actually says in writing. Where the details suggest that there is a reason why this brand is worth your time, and you actually find yourself clicking and swiping to find out more.

This kind of work is the result of crafting the story. Consciously or subconsciously. We’ve gotten away from this, but it’s important to have that story actually created. It’s too much to ask that the story be written in prose, but that would be ideal. Give everyone involved an understanding of the entire body of what they are working towards. Some people still believe in writing a manifesto to rev up a team around a brand or a specific campaign. Good, but not deep enough for today’s experiences, which take place on more platforms and are subject to infinitely more examination by the viewer.

Look, we take direction from our clients on what they believe they want to say about themselves. And to be fair, that can be boring. When you meet someone at a party, and they launch into a pre-set conversation, you tune out. They’re not reacting to you, they’re not letting you steer, they’re not attempting to engage you. I’ve written at length about the audience being unpredictable. Especially on the internet where there are so many stories being pushing in front of you. We have to turn the story toward the viewer and present it so the person we want to view the story has enough footholds to climb on.

That means writing every part to build and contribute to the story, and not giving up any part as a teaser. There are no more teasers. Attention is too valuable. I’ll give you a dollar for each time you’ve actually clicked on a link in a brand’s tweet that said “See our new commercial here.” Because you haven’t. Who the hell wants to watch commercials? And those opportunities to add to the story are surrendered because you didn’t have a sense what elements existed that need to be pushed in order to make the meat at the other side of that link more meaningful. It might actually be a teaser.

If you read this and you’re thinking, “Okay, this is a fine bit of preaching if we’re launching a new SUV or HBO series, but I’m selling jeans,” I think this applies to you too. The more you understand what you’re saying about your product, the easier it is to say it. The easier it is use a call-to-action that contributes and doesn’t merely beg. It’s true that the story about the HBO series might be at its core a more entertaining story than the one behind a Zappos landing page. There is a difference between a feature film and the wedding announcements in your local newspaper, but each finds its audience and gets a result.






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