Show Don’t Tell.


There is an old maxim in advertising and marketing that “showing is better that telling.”  I was in a meeting with a technology group at AT&T Business Communications Services a while back. We were there to set strategy with a group who had not done any real advertising before. Our intent was to validate our understanding, the objectives, and the strategies prior to putting pen to paper and mouse to screen.  After lots of PPT slides, the client asked us when we were going to get to the part where Darrin Stephens (ad guy from Bewitched, a TV show) stands up and shows the boards with words and pictures on them. He clearly wanted to be shown not told.

My brand strategy presentation is unique in that it’s 85% show. I use real brand strategies (names redacted) from past clients so clients have examples. Not theoretical explanations.  I can tell you 20 times that a brand strategy is an “organizing principle for product, experience and messaging.” I can explain the framework as a “one claim and three proof planks,” but when I show people and explain how the values fit, everyone gets it.

In advertising, people approve briefs, but they really want to approve the ads. In branding, they sit through the marko-babble and brand-babble, but really want to see logos, taglines and designs. Show don’t tell.

If you’d like to see examples of real brand strategies in your category, please email