Does Your Story Convey a Point of View?


The point of view in the American novel was an assignment I relished during my course on American literature at the University of Bologna. I started the paper by describing a scene from Hitchcock Rear Window: A man in the semi-distance looking inside the apartment and yard facing him.

From the activities taking place in his view, he develops a narrative — piecing together clues made of body language, and action. Third party observational narrative ends up feeling real to the moviegoer who becomes immersed in the sequence of events as seen or described by someone else.

We're quite used to talking about storytelling in branding, the signs and symbols that speak to us. Those products and services we develop an affinity for have a strong point of view. Having a point of view is also an innovation principle, according to Diego Rodriguez.

I did the same exercise with the people, objects, and ideas that connect with me in the image above.

What you believe in

When you have a point of view, it's much easier to tell your story. Although it takes time and effort to figure out what you stand for, what you believe in, once you get there, it becomes incredibly easy to stand by your story. And that will help you stand out.

It will also help those who want to stand alongside your product and service.

Think about the products and services that connect with you. They represent something, they convey meaning. That is a choice: Wanting to be something for someone and choosing to not be all things to all people.

Therefore, you will attract those people who are really passionate about that point of view, that lens.

Words matter, too

It's not the symbols and the actual product and service experience. Words matter as well. Just because we're no longer chipping our thoughts into stone, we shouldn't assume their lack of permanence or effect. Why shouldn't our communications convey a story, with the same forceful a point of view of the product or service itself?

Why are PR firms still formatting press releases as if no decision, no choice had been made? Why are news items written in the stodgy language of ages past, still? It's not exclamation marks at the end of the sentence that make something exciting — you can enroll the words themselves to carry that message.

Which brands succeed online? Those that have the ability to speak from the voice and point of view of the product or service, either directly, or indirectly, through their fans.

Being engaged

One of the conversations I have most frequently when I work with interactive marketing and communication groups is about the brand being engaged. We can bring love and passion back into the way we talk and write about product news.

Why not? Who makes the rules? The PR industry? Mainstream media? Have you noticed lately the kind of news that gets coverage? Do you suppose they got the information from dry press releases?

Jon-stewart-stephen-colbert Colbert Nation and the Daily Show get talked about because they inject a different kind of storytelling in news sharing. I know, you're going to tell me their lens is comedy. Focus on the point of view, that's what's attracting viewers.

Online we have the Onion, the Oatmeal on the fun side, and also some company blogs pull that off nicely — 37 signals, Rackspace, JetBlue, and Patagonia, for example. More often than not, I get my news about those companies at their blogs.

Stop taking yourself so seriously. Start thinking about what matters most and how to convey your excitement for a piece of news so you can show you are engaged with it.

You will find you're much more engaging to readers and fans that way.

The problem is not sharing news in social streams. As many of the recent events have shown, people are hungry for news to read and share. The problem is putting your passion and love back into it. Poetry matters, and so does your point of view. It will allow to say no to the excess language.


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0 responses to “Does Your Story Convey a Point of View?”

  1. Truly, there are a great many people pushing messages they, themselves, do not believe, nor would want to receive. They are consistently bluffing at the Poker table of life. It might work this hand. I might work the next, too, but eventually, the other players will figure it out, walk away with all the chips on the table, and never invite these people back to play again.

  2. Yep. I’m with you on this one. I read (and edit!) too many press releases and think “So what? Where’s the story here?”
    The difficulty is, I guess, in actually having that passion to begin with. I rarely find people in-house or agency-side who really have taken the time to understand what it is they’re doing, the implications, and how exciting that can be. Once that’s in place, the words will reflect that, as you say. Without it, nothing works.
    That’s why I tend to prefer reading blogs because they’re written by people who have that passion to begin with, otherwise they wouldn’t do it, right?

  3. Interesting analogy, Brian. I’m not so sure though, because I keep seeing those players in the game. The problem, I think, is that they are gambling away the good will of others, not their own social currency.

  4. You’re right on the blog front. When I get to reply to comments at midnight, you know I care 😉 Having now been on both sides of the conversation, I can tell you that it’s really hard to hold your ground on passion. Then again, it is as hard as in life.

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