Dad once told me, “Tim, don’t tell her you’re courteous. Open her door.”
That was one of my first lessons in showing vs. telling. In marketing, showing always wields the more powerful impact. There are two great examples of showing making the social media rounds this week.
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In this ad for Volvo Trucks, Jean-Claude Van Damme (yes, that Jean-Claude Van Damme) helps to demonstrate the precision steering of Volvo’s trucks. The result is unbelievable.
In nine days, the video has more than 42,000,000 views on YouTube! If you have a few more minutes, here’s a video of how it was made.
The second video is a little different but just as good. Disappointed by a remarkable lack of women with careers in science, technology, engineering, and math, Goldiebox set about constructing toys designed to get girls interested in building cool stuff at a young age. In a word, Goldieblox rox. As the father of a 4-year-old daughter, GoldieBlox and their values make my heart swell.
In four days, their video “Princess Machine” has more than 6,000,000 views on YouTube, and they’ve enjoyed both press and public praise and discussion across the globe. Rather than directly dramatizing the benefits of their own toys, Goldieblox keeps you spellbound with the cognitive dissonance of a Rube Goldberg-like contraption filled with ingenious, unusual uses of stereotypical toys for little girls. It’s quite a channel change – literally and metaphorically.
And, if you have a few more minutes, here’s a video of how it was made.
What You Can Take Away
You don’t need giant budgets to create one-off videos and hope they go viral.
Powerful messaging shows – it demonstrates the benefits of your product or service. It allows people who see, hear, or read your message to connect the dots themselves. Give us proof or examples of your benefits, don’t just tell us about them.
For example, if you want to tell us your company delivers shareworthy service, give us some examples. Tell us some stories that demonstrate this assertion as fact. Tell us a story from the last three days about how you delighted a customer. Better yet, dramatize it.
As you go through your weekend, look for other examples of companies who do a good job of showing you what they stand for or how they help. Chances are those companies are already – or will be – successful for years to come.
By showing versus telling in your messaging, you will be, too.