The following is the third article in a series from a Q&A about the power of story that I participated in with Dr. Kathy Hansen on her blog, A Storied Career.

Q: How important is it to you and your work to function within the framework of a particular definition of “story?” (i.e., What is a story?) What definition do you espouse?



Print ad for the Arizona Nursery Association


A: Working in the framework of story is the most important foundation for everything we do in the advertising and marketing business. It starts with our mission: To ignite the growth of people, products, companies and causes that dare to make the world better.

What do people fear? Some of the most basic fears are those of physical survival, health and wellbeing, humiliation, and being disconnected from your community. If you can tell a compelling story as to how the person, product, company or cause can make a significant and very real impact in any one of these areas, and all it takes is for the customer to participate in the story by engaging in the offering, and then deliver on that promise, you can’t lose. That is the power of story and how it is the building block for the gestalt of a client’s brand.

The heroes in every one of our endeavors are the people, or product, or company, or cause that hires us. Their quest is to make their customers’ lives better while positively impacting the world around them. The word “dare” reflects the antagonistic challenges our protagonists have chosen to battle to achieve something great. We are the sidekick, love story, or sage to the protagonist, and our singular mission is to ignite their growth, ensure survival and make them thrive by helping them overcome their obstacles

That’s the story framework found in our business relationships. Now overlay that exact same framework involving our clients’ customers as the sidekick or love story, and craft and tell a compelling story from their worldview as to how together with our client their worlds are mutually better.