Stephen King’s first novel, Carrie, was rejected thirty times before it got published. J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, got denied twelve times by publishers. Imagine popular literature without these voices.
In 1963, The Beatles submitted an audition tape to Decca Records. The Beatles received feedback such as “Guitar groups are on their way out” and “The Beatles have no future in show business.” Instead, Decca signed Brian Poole and the Tremeloes. Can you fathom popular music without The Beatles’ influence?
Bill Gates, a college dropout, started his first business, called Traf-O-Data, aimed to automate raw traffic data to create reports for traffic engineers. Their first demo failed, as the machine didn’t work. A few years after this failure, Gates and his Traf-O-Data partner founded a new startup company called Microsoft.
Thomas Edison’s childhood teachers said he was “too dumb to learn anything”. He got fired from his first two jobs due to lack of productivity. During his inventing career, he devised 1,000 failed attempts at inventing the light bulb. On attempt number 1,001, he succeeded.
Obviously we have picked, arguably, the most famous people on the planet to illuminate our point. But that shouldn’t diminish the argument that telling the whole story and showcasing people or companies overcoming adversity is exciting and necessary.
Let your story be memorable
These stories are famous because of the outcome of the individual. Maybe your company has a few of these hypotheticals in the closet as well. For example, “If this hadn’t happened, we wouldn’t have invented ‘X’, which has changed the way people do ‘Y’.” These are the stories people want to hear. Human beings love the underdog, or the person/company that overcame objection, patent fails, early start-up miscues, but now sits on top of the mountain, changing lives. These are the types of stories people remember. These are the stories that need to be told.
In corporate video marketing, the path of least resistance is to highlight products and people in the best light possible. While that should obviously be a part of your strategy, you should also think about telling that same story differently. Perhaps you should let some old company secrets out into the open. Ensure that your customers and prospects understand that they are dealing with a company that is strong. A company that persevered. A company that is leading an industry not by chance, but by sheer determination.
By Curtis Honeycutt - AGP Contributing Script Writer