You’re in the Business of Truth Not Facts


October 26, 2017

by Carla Johnson

Think about your experience with marketing for a minute.

Here are some things we know to be true.

We know we’re not really going to drag and drop and edit presentations, or work on movies right on our iPhone. The TV commercial showing people doing that on their iPhones makes it seem like it’s so easy.  All you have to do is tap with your finger, swipe over the graph, and everything will automatically be put into the Keynote presentation on your tablet. But no one does that. It’s true – but, come on, it’s not really fact.

We also know that when we have an unfortunate hotel room situation, and we get that sympathetic Tweet from the hotel’s social media person, that it’s simply not a fact that they are “sorry to hear about our problems.” It’s “true,” but the fact is that they’re actually just trying to get our complaint to disappear from their screen as fast as possible.

We also know, for a fact, that the classic Coca Cola ad from the 1970s—that taught the world to sing, was completely contrived. The people were actors. And Coke shot the commercial after more five hours of rehearsal. Only then did they get the kids organically climbing the hill in “perfect harmony.”

And, yes, we also know that when we go to see the LEGO Movie, they’re actually trying to get us to buy more LEGOs.

The point with all of these is we don’t care.

The iPhone commercial is trying to persuade us.

The hotel is trying to ameliorate us.

The Coca Cola ad is trying to engage us.

And the LEGO Movie is trying to entertain us

But we don’t care – because we find value in the experience anyway.

Marketers, we are not in the business of facts. We are in the business of what ought to be the truth.

This might be best exemplified with the quote from Tennessee Williams, who brought it to life through the voice of his main character Blanche Dubois, in A Streetcar Named Desire, where she said, “I don’t want realism. I want magic. Yes, magic. I try to give that to people. I don’t tell truths. I tell what ought to be the truth.”

Facts are boring. Facts are commodities. Facts are not differentiating.

Tell me, what facts are you telling that are getting in the way of what ought to be the truth?

About Carla

Carla Johnson Innovation Creativity Speaker Author

Carla Johnson helps leaders who are often paralyzed by traditional thinking. They suffer from slow growth, an eroding competitive advantage, low employee engagement, and depleted investor confidence. Their teams lack purpose and progress and constantly battle a resistance to change and new ideas.

As the world’s leading innovation architect, Carla’s spent 20 years helping leaders shatter limits and discover undiscovered possibilities. Through years of research, she’s developed a simple, scalable 5-step process that teaches people how to consistently produce inspired ideas that lead to uncommon outcomes.