My Story: From Wasting Away in BS-laden, Jargonitaville to Keeping it Human

I was a “get-it-done” executive working in Corporate America – in Silicon Valley (if you’ve seen the HBO show, much of the depictions are comically true!). I had a high-powered job creating marketing that even I did not want to read, although management insisted. “We have game-changing, breakthrough technology that is shifting paradigms, and reframing KPIs….” If *I* didn’t want to read this stuff, imagine what customers thought! This is a special kind of torture, and I’m sure there is a layer in Dante’s Inferno for this stuff!

I know customers don’t exist to buy your, my, our stuff. Humans have needs, and they want reasons to be inspired and to trust. Jargon doesn’t inspire people – it alienates them! I know from experience the best way to reach them is through stories. According to a study by Stanford University (Oct 2012), stories are remembered up to 22 times more than facts alone. Storytelling is human and it’s about connecting.

jargon monsterOne day, I was asked to create a campaign for a new product that was so filled with jargon, I suffered a jargon-monoxide poisoning attack. More un-human marketing hurts customers and the companies who create it.

I was a on a mission to help, so I left to find a place with less jargon and more humanity and meaning. I created a company that bans jargon and embraces storytelling and humor, so that my clients could better connect with customers as people and get better results by doing it. “Keeping it Human” means making a great human connection. When customers feel a connection, and that a company “gets” them and their human challenges, they are more likely to be loyal.

And ever since that day, I have helped clients to uncover and tell their human stories with clarity, purpose, and simplicity in their communications so they win in the marketplace. That means their customers win, too. I want my clients and their clients to live happily – not crappily – ever after.

I believe treating people as people (and not targets) is the most important element to marketing success.

You have a great story. Together we can humanize it and share it with the world – loudly and proudly.

New Story Chapter (2015): Human Communications and Ideas Generation – Internal or External

In the last year, many of the business challenges I have helped customers with are further upstream from marketing. In a number of cases, a customer asked for marketing and storytelling help, and it was in that process of due diligence that we discovered “upstream” organizational issues such as storytelling and business culture that affect the success of internal and external customer communication.

Business culture affects everything. If it’s in disarray, so will everything downstream be – that includes marketing. Marketing storytelling isn’t fictional; it’s based on company values, a strong culture, happy employees AND happy customers.

So I have been doing lots of strategic work around helping companies get unstuck in marketing and product, as well as employee and executive communication, employee engagement and on-boarding, organizational mission and story, and across the entire internal ‘human’ communication spectrum. If it involves communication of ideas and human beings, well, chances are I’ve touched it. In a good way!

So today I am integrating comedy, humor and improvisational tools, storytelling, facilitation, the human touch, and marketing – all of my leadership skills – in order to solve these upstream strategic issues where I can make a bigger difference for companies than just touching marketing. This work is in addition to marketing storytelling, which I am still very passionate about, and still do.

Improvisational tools can be applied anywhere improve outcomes where human interactions, communications, and ideas matter. And if internal challenges are left unsolved, external marketing won’t be very credible or compelling. I have helped companies generate new product and content marketing ideas, updated internal employee communications to be more human, reshaped on-boarding, to be more collaborative, fun, and appeal to Gen Y, and worked with executives on updating their mission and organizational story. I am even applying improvisational tools to help execs at a tech company improve their listening and empathy skills.

If listening, empathy, culture, and strong storytelling are missing internally, you can’t fake that in external marketing. All of it is part of being human and that fits with my company’s mission. That’s where all great marketing starts – with internally healthy companies.

Is your team facing a human communication challenge internally or externally?

Maybe I can help. Let’s explore. Give me a call.