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On showing rather than telling

Why Words Matter Newsletter July 2021

Last month, we wrote about the small yet mighty details that make up our communications, shaping what we say. Have a read here.

Sometimes we feel we insist too much on the idea that branding is not just visuals but perception and communication - logo, typographies and colour are just a part of the picture.

A brand is the ideas, memories and feelings they trigger in people: the story people tell themselves when they think of you.

Not a literal story; branding is about building a narrative.

When it comes to brand storytelling through a website, there’s sometimes too much emphasis on things like an about page when it's actually about your values and vision, your people and culture, the things you believe in and work by. And what it all means to your audience.

Your brand story is the overlap and connection between you and your audience. How you capture this and reflect it in messages that resonate with the people you want to reach, translate it into a voice and identity that speaks truthfully, communicate it consistently at every touch point with your audience. On where you angle the lens.

On showing rather than telling.

Marketing Made Simple Podcast

Author and marketer Donald Miller applied the ideas of Joseph Campbell about storytelling to marketing and branding in his book Building a story brand. In this podcast episode, he introduces this framework to show us how to use it to market our business.

The secret to better storytelling for social change Stanford Social Innovation Review Building better partnerships is the answer to more effective storytelling when it comes to changing hearts and minds, says the SSIR. This article includes a step by step guide to finding the right story and the right messenger. (Thanks to Storythings for sharing this.)


Described as ‘one of the world’s most talented living storytellers’, Miranda shares tips for mastering the art. A great reminder to get bored, find a champion for your work, and that there’s no such thing as peaking too soon.

The best commercial about a quarry you’ll see today Kottke (video) As Nietzsche pointed out, there are different ways of using rocks: some will look at a quarry and see nothing but stumbling blocks, others will look and see stepping stones. It’s all about perspective. A perfect example of showing rather than telling - watch and enjoy.

The Take (video)

Consistency is the glue that holds stories together, and this 16-minute film takes us through the stylistic elements that are so deliberately Wes Anderson.


(If you enjoy this email and know someone who would get a lot out of it, please consider forwarding it to them. Or if you were forwarded this email, maybe sign up so you can receive it each 1st of the month - it’s on us! ;-) )


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