By Matt McLaren, Senior Strategist



I only say that to prove this; the craft and art of telling a good story is not going away any time soon.


Since before mankind left our caves for society, we were sharing stories. And I know, if humanity was defined by one buzzword, it’d probably be storytelling. Often overused and definitely overhashtagged, it is the driving force behind all that we create. After millions of years of evolution, it’s still those funny, relatable or empathetic narratives that capture and hold on to our curiosity.


Whether it lives on Spotify, Netflix or a VR headset is irrelevant. We are all experimenting with these new tools to tell a more compelling, interesting story. Because here’s the thing, it will always be about telling a good story. The only difference something like VR brings is that instead of seeing a crappy story, you can now see a crappy story in 360 degrees, all around you.



A good story is the most powerful way to make a lasting impact with our customers. It captures attention, holds on to it, and sends our audience on a wild ride — with our brand in the driver’s seat.


It’s our job as advertisers to take what’s special about a brand and tell a cohesive and persuasive story to potential customers; rooted in human truths, cultural nuances, and why-haven’t-I-heard-that-before insights.


Stories are the quickest way to express this benefit, but it’s also the easiest (and most memorable) way for a customer to share that benefit with others. Humans are 22 times better at remembering stories than facts. As a result, people often don’t buy the best products – they buy the best stories.



But, good stories aren’t just for our clients. There’s one important, often overlooked, way we tell stories — through our decks.


Decks are the currency of any good agency. They are our means of selling in ideas. They are our voice when we leave the room. They are easily shared with the C-suite, and often seen/judged by other agencies. Decks are an important part of the creative process.


In today’s business world, there are literally 100 million decks being made every day. To cut through this clutter, it’s the responsibility of all of us to make sure ours are great.


We can do this by treating our decks like a story. By clearly identifying the hero. Establishing the villain. Unpacking the problem, and revealing the magical way we overcome it, together.


This craft takes practice. We have to learn to thread our facts and data in interesting ways. We have to learn to write with conflict. To dig through the best of the internet and find little nuggets that help setup the story/problem of a presentation. We have to learn to share our personal stories as powerful proof points, but not as a replacement for research. To design our slides in a way that inspires and gives our audience something new to think about.


Keep this in mind the next time you open Keynote, and write a story worth hearing.


Storytelling isn’t going anywhere. To get better at telling yours, check these out:


Read: Made to Stick; Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die


Watch: TED Talk, Shonda Rhimes and Cyndi Stivers


Go: The Future of Storytelling Summit in NYC