What Stories Have in Common With Advertising and Investing

Inspired by animals, their families, warfare, and their myths, the earliest humans told stories using cave paintings. Today, we have books, movies, TikTok, YouTube and a thousand other story-telling mediums. To these, you can also add advertising and also branding. What best-selling novels, memorable ads and successful companies all share is great stories.

I began writing ads while attending classes at the University of Washington when my professor, the vice chairman of a large west coast agency, hired me as an intern. The first ads I wrote professionally were for a large international hotel chain. Since then, I’ve written hundreds of ad, brochures, press releases, web pages and emails for companies large and small and, in the process, winning numerous awards.

Over the years, I learned how to tell a good story in broadcast, print, various electronic media and, in the process, traveled not only in the US, but in much of the world. But making ads didn’t fulfill me. And so, I began writing stories in the office of clients while I waited to see them. My first novel, Soul Catcher, was written in 15 minutes – 15 minutes here, 15 minutes there, etc., etc.

Learning to tell a story not only helped me succeed in advertising and eventually in writing novels, but it also helped me choose which stocks to invest in based on company stories. In the early 80’s, I read about a company with a promising cancer drug and bought a few shares. That company was bought by a larger company which grew to become one of the greatest biotechnology companies in the world. The same thing happened with investments in Apple, Google, and many other companies that I discovered with good “stories.” Did every investment pan out? No, but many more succeeded than failed.

Whether you’re seeking a good book to read, a good product to purchase or choosing a good company to invest in, look for a good story.