- Fri, June 17 2011
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
When my life flashes before my eyes someday—and I hope that’s very far in the future - I suspect it will be a series of small details, each of which stands for something meaningful.
That’s because as humans, we experience the immense through the small. We relate to the historic through the personal.
If you’re a communicator, you get this. You understand the profound importance of telling details. When I was a foreign correspondent, I looked for them constantly. They can tell a whole, complex story in one image that takes permanent lodging in the mind. When I was in Ukraine, I saw a poor grandmother begging before the church of Saint Sophia, jangling spare change in a McDonald’s cup. You could write 1,000 words on the loss of social safety nets with the fall of communism and the pain of pensioners despite the boom of capitalism. Or you could paint that one picture.
One of the most moving appeals I received from a nonprofit last year talked about a girl whose family had finally moved into their first apartment, but she still kept her clothes in a garbage bag in her room because she had no dresser. I have a vivid image of a black hefty bag with little dresses sagging on the floor of a barren room. I can’t stop thinking about it.
What’s missing from your appeals? The little details that tell the whole story.