JK Waldie & Associates

Telling a fibThere was a great article posted on LinkedIn recently titled “When Marketing Storytelling Crosses over to Lying.” I agreed and understood why Parth Mukherjee wrote what he did because I have experienced companies that regularly stretched the truth into a lie in proposals. To quote: “how much is too much and how / when should the marketing [proposal] team put its foot down and refuse to tell fibs?” Here are my rules directly related to proposals:

  1. Always verify employment for team members if including the resume. Refuse to include a resume for a non-employee unless they are under agreement. I once had a company president insist I include a resume for a non-employee. It turns out he was on another team. Naturally, we lost the project because of this lie.
  2. Always verify project information, including dates, value and results. If there were problems acknowledge them and let it be an example of how the company applies lessons learned. After all, clients know that projects don’t always go perfectly. They want to know you can handle and resolve problems. Also make sure it was a project your company really worked on. A colleague once told me of a client who lost in the interview because one of the selection committee knew they had not completed a project they claimed.
  3. Verify your references. Don’t put down a client that you have not been in touch with to confirm they will give a good reference. Too often, I have also seen references listed where the person hasn’t been with that company for a couple of years! Or an un-vetted reference gives a bad recommendation.
  4. As the article states, never say anything unbelievable. If you don’t believe it neither will, the client. Truth is powerful and it comes through in the writing. If you don’t have the direct experience, talk about how what experience you do have directly relates to the project (e.g., good project management, managing multiple stakeholders, working for the client on a different type of project.) If you don’t have the resources, talk about how you will network with your team or others to provide the resources.

Compelling content is always founded in the truth and what really makes your company unique. The truth wins out every time.

You can read the whole article here. He has some great suggestions on when to refuse to stretch storytelling. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/when-marketing-storytelling-parth-mukherjee

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