Headlines that Generate Stories
Here are two great examples of eye-catching headlines that drew me into not just a story, but my story. In fact, little movies went off in my head. Genius!
The “Don’t Count Calories” headline sent me through an entire “history” channel from adolescence through parenthood. I remembered the first time I “counted calories” as a young teen. I think I did it to fit into what I saw as the inherited behavior of cooler, older teenage girls. Ugh. Then into young adulthood – learning to nourish and cook for myself, but by then the focus was more about differentiating between calories, i.e., the “no-fat” or “low-fat” trend. Onto parenthood and the “high fructose corn syrup” rage. And now today, where the concern isn’t calories, or fat (so much), but sugar and the amount of processed food we consume all the time, often despite our best efforts. This five-word headline turned an old paradigm on its axis. And connected me, in an instant, to my own long history. This is the power of communication to create a memorable call-to-action through story. I won’t forget that headline. Fantastic!
My second double-take experience was this billboard on the Mass Pike. Billboards, the ultimate headliners, are usually a blip on my radar. But not this one.
This headline reminded me of our deep interest in human faces and how sophisticated we primates are at distinguishing one face from hundreds, even thousands of people in a crowd. Today’s Facebook is a testament to the power of this science.
But I was transported back to the National Portrait Gallery in London. It was 1987 and I was visiting my first-ever portrait gallery. Modernization hadn’t come yet, so the building was tired and a bit disorganized. It didn’t matter. I experienced a thrill looking at Richard III and Anne Boleyn and especially the cool photographs (STING rocked it) of the current day rich and famous. It was a surprising discovery and it stuck. Months later my most excellent boss bought me a National Portrait Gallery Art Book for Christmas.
These headlines stood out. They both used the past and the present to connect with their audiences. A chronology structure sets up an opportunity to bridge ideas with a narrative. Well-crafted and delivered business stories are the life-blood of vivid and meaningful communication.
At SpeakWell Partners we are invested in uncovering your meaningful stories. Have you told any lately?