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The Story Is Always ...

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I was honored that Kathy Hansen invited me to participate in her Q&A series.

She asked me to share one piece of advice or wisdom on storytelling.

My response –

The story is always there.

I truly believe this.

Every company has something compelling to say. But like discovery in the legal sphere, it can take some digging to get to the “compelling” part.

Years ago we supported National Semiconductor who asked us to develop a campaign for a new version of semiconductor called an EEPROM (electrically erasable programmable read-only memory). On the surface, this isn’t exactly a topic that conjures drama and the media spotlight.

As part of our discovery exercise, we asked the product manager about potential uses for the new chip. It turns out that one of the target applications was keyless locks for cars.

Apparently, bad guys were intercepting the signal from keyless locks. When the car owner left, the thief would replay the recorded signal to break into the car. This EEPROM had what was called a rolling code generator, preventing an intercepted signal from opening the car.

This insight led us to the insurance industry and researching auto theft. One insurance company provided us with surveillance video of an auto theft. A second company pointed us to an auto museum that included a history of auto security devices. It turned out one of the earliest theft-prevention devices for cars was a blow-up man that one would place in the driver’s seat so potential thieves perceived the car was occupied.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Armed with this “texture,” we were able to package a story for the humble EEPROM that played on a number of broadcast outlets.

You can see how the story elements come together in the video below.


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