What’s Your Story?

When I was a child, around the age of one and a half, my mother would put me in a playpen while she did chores around the house. At the same time, she had the TV on for background noise. And at that time of day, she was watching soap operas. Naturally, a little boy of 18 months paid no attention to the programming. As my mother tells it, I would be happily banging my toys together and rattling my cage while General Hospital was playing. That is until the commercials came on. During the entire commercial break, I stood transfixed as each mini story passed the screen. And when the show came back on, I went back to chewing my toys.

Because of that, mom always knew I would become an adman.

This story is a nice example of the power of story. I could have given you personal stats on where I went to school, how many years I’ve been in the business or the types of clients I’ve worked for, but you won’t remember any of that. However, you will recall a story. Because as many psychologists and anthropologists have documented, human beings are wired for stories.

And now research shows that a good story can increase the value of a product, service or brand. Take a look at the graphic below. Clearly, a good yarn can increase perceived value. It is part of the human condition to be empathetic, to want to be emotionally involved in the theater of the mind. And when we do become involved, we also become attached.

Stories get better results.

Doodlin’ in a meeting

Doodlers are more engaged during a meeting and retain more information. Especially when the meeting is boring. Here’s proof.

Jerry Ketel

Jerry has been making beautiful and creative things for more than 30 years. He’s written, designed, produced and directed campaigns for everyone from Oregon Humane Society to Starbucks and Apple. He has a pile of awards to show for this, though he feels that kind of thing is pretty overrated anyway. He has successfully pranked the international media, eats enormous salads every day for lunch and looks a little like Steve Jobs, both on the outside and inside.

Terra Spencer

Terra is just as at home in a high-level business meeting as she is at a rodeo. In her 17 years as managing director and founding partner, she’s seen a lot of both. In 2007, she was named one of Portland’s Top 40 business leaders under 40, and in 2011 alone, she attended countless rodeos as part of her role in overseeing the explosive development and growth of Pendleton Whisky. When she’s not busy feeling good about her role in taking LK from a five-member team to one of Portland’s premier agencies, Terra wins the undying loyalty of LK office dogs by feeding them inappropriate human food.

Kevin Reynolds

After graduating from the Art Institute of Chicago with a degree in fine arts, Kevin returned home to his beloved Northwest, armed with uncanny design instincts and insider knowledge on how to make perfect deep-dish pizza.

He uses the first skill set at LK, working on Oregon Humane Society, Oregon Coast Aquarium, De Bortoli Wines and a number of others. He uses the second at Via Chicago, his and wife Tonya’s newly opened Northeast Portland eatery. We are not sure how he does it, either.

Kevin’s delightful illustrations can be spotted on billboards around town and on copious scraps of paper during longer agency meetings.