Inconvenient Truth: When A (Visual) Story > 1000 Words

One of the best speakers I’ve heard in a long time, Nancy Duarte of Duarte Design, spoke about the power of storytelling to my beloved Watermark networking group.  Nancy is best known for creating Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth “slideshow,” so she knows what she’s talking about when it comes to telling stories.

slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations

Slide:ology:Looks Like It Tells a Good Story

At the cornerstone of her storytelling philosophy is the emotional connection.  “Rather than a name or logo, or tagline that reflects what a company thinks of itself, brand is what a company stands for in the hearts and minds of its customers; to be successful, the company must have an emotional connection with the consumer,” says Nancy Duarte in her book Slide:ology.

Duarte’s expertise revolves around Powerpoint, of course, but you can extend this exact principle in a number of directions.  Take Sunrise Packaging.  They make a compelling case for product package design to tell a story to the consumer.  Think about it… What really tells the story in most consumer packaged goods?  The junk in the bottle, or the look, feel and voice of the bottle?

And then there is my Conformer world, and I wonder why the mail packaging world gets delegated to the mail room or fulfillment house decision makers instead of being viewed as the very first opportunity to make that emotional connection with the recipient.  We know departments and agencies full of people creating sales kits, media kits, sample kits, not to mention e-commerce sites fiercely competing for loyalty, and yet the package that all that STUFF goes into looks miserable, beaten up and just sad.

Read more about a pathetic package in Hall of Shame #10: The Story You’re Telling.  It tells a very sad story,  and its sender may not realize that the story ends badly… for him.

-Sari McConnell at


3 responses to “Inconvenient Truth: When A (Visual) Story > 1000 Words

  1. Did you ever think that maybe the company doesn’t care as much what it’s shipped in because they invest their time and energy into making a good product instead? As a consumer I would never not purchase from a company again because their packaging was less than desirable. As long as I get what I ordered and it’s not damaged I could care less.

    • Thanks for your comment! It has made me realize that I need to go back and take a photo of the product that was shipped to me in that awful USPS mailer, because yes, it did come damaged. And this Amazon reseller doesnt make products, it resells them, so that its only job is to process an order, pull from inventory, and pick the appropriate packaging to fulfill my order. So in my humble opinion, it showed a lack of respect for me as a customer as in, “I just want your money because you’re probably too lazy to return this and the likelihood of getting a reorder is low.” (both true) But to your point, while I very much respect your opinion here, I dont believe that the time and energy spent on product vs. packaging should be mutually exclusive. Its all part of what gets into a customer’s valuable hands. Thanks again for your input…and I’m getting that photo up right after Thanksgiving!

  2. Thank you for your kind words, Sari!

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