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 is a world-renowned storyteller, an entertaining speaker, and a prolific author. Having lived, worked, and studied on five continents, she's partnered with top brands and conferences to train thousands of people how to rethink the work that they do and the impact they can have. Her visionary expertise has inspired and equipped leaders at all levels to embrace change, welcome new ideas, and transform their business.

Her work with Fortune 500 brands served as the foundation for many of her books. Her tenth, RE:Think Innovation, is a #1 new release that busts the myth that innovation is something that requires a specific degree or special training. In fact, Carla explains why, to be a successful company in today's hyper-competitive, customer-driven world, innovation must be everyone's business. Her goal is to teach one million people how to become innovators by 2025.

Consistently named one of the top influencers in B2B, digital and content marketing, Carla regularly challenges conventional thinking. Today, she travels the world teaching anyone (and everyone) how to cultivate idea-driven teams that breed unstoppable creativity and game-changing innovation.