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The Importance of Stories

Posted by on November 23, 2009

greatest job in the world

A few weeks ago I attended the Social Networking World Forum in Santa Clara.  If anything, the event was worth it just to hang out with Tim Moore, Michael Brito, and Ty Downing.  During one of the sessions Chris Chambers from the Tourism Bureau of Queensland was talking about the campaign that they launched called “The greatest job in the world.”  Some of you may remember all the hype around it.  The whole idea was to give on person the opportunity to be the caretaker for the Queensland islands.  That one person would get a great salary and would be responsible for sharing his/her experiences traveling around Queensland via social media, not a bad job right?  There was a contest held online to pick the winner and sure enough the web exploded with talk about this unique opportunity.  The rationale behind the campaign was to increase the amount of tourists to the island by getting more people to talk about Queensland.

During Chris’s presentation I raised my hand and asked about ROI, he said that they didn’t have a dollar amount but said that they did receive a lot of free press and publicity, so they did see an impact on their efforts.  In return for asking my question Chris gave me a t-shirt that said “Greatest job in the world.”

Since receiving the t-shirt I’ve worn it a few times to the gym and every time I wear the shirt I have several people come up to me and ask me what the greatest job in the world is.  This means that I of course have to explain the story behind the t-shirt and the tourism campaign, which most people find fascinating.  A few people that have asked me about the campaign actually remember hearing about it online.  Others have never heard of it.  I’ve had people of different ages, backgrounds, and careers all come up to me to ask me about the shirt and each time I explained the story behind it.

The shirt by itself was absolutely meaningless but the story behind it is what was interesting.  Every time someone sees the shirt they wonder, “hmmm, what could this amazing job possibly be?” and then they have to come up to me and ask.  While I’m not going to talk about the overall campaign for “greatest job in the world,” I will say that what Chris and his team have done is create a powerful story and a simple way to get that story to spread…me.

Stories are powerful because they provide meaning and context to something.  Stories are easy to share and spread and we all love to hear and tell a good story.  Think about this when developing your next campaign or strategy.  Ask yourself what the story is and how you can get the world to talk about it, the answer might be as simple as giving a t-shirt to some guy at a conference.

  • now, i want one of those shirts lol and yes, i agree, it was a very good marketing strategy! campaigns without a story behind them seem shallow and unmemorable imho

    • Those shirts are definitely great for some interesting conversations. Stories are definitely crucial for brands. As usual thanks for stopping by!

    • Hi Dj,

      Sorry was trying to respond earlier but for some reason my plugin was acting a bit funny. Those t-shirts are definitely great to have and you can get pretty creative with the stories if you chose to do so. Thanks for stopping by!

  • I like that shirt, you can make up some great stories about it. In all seriousness, however, being able to tell a great story is half the battle to having compelling content and generating a desired conversation.

  • I like that shirt, you can make up some great stories about it. In all seriousness, however, being able to tell a great story is half the battle to having compelling content and generating a desired conversation.

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  • I want one of these shirts lol and yes, I admit, it was a very good marketing strategy! campaigns without a story behind them seem superficial immemorial and in my humble opinion