Why Backstage Stories Make
Your Message Work Harder?

Why Backstage Stories Make Your Message Work Harder?

Why Backstage Stories Make Your Message Work Harder? 370 218 Shlomi Ron

I was driving my car last Friday evening on my way for an art opening in Coral Gables Museum. With the music blazing, my spirits high I noticed a warning light on my car dashboard.

Initially, I couldn’t tell what that exclamation mark wrapped around a semi-circle meant. You see, my Volkswagen Tiguan has a whole emoji language of its own.

But then my wife pointed out a more explicit message that popped up next screen:

“Your tire air pressure is too low.”

In the past week, it’s been raining like crazy in Miami so I figured maybe it had to do with the weather changing. I figured I’ll check it out the next day.

Next day arrived, and the stubborn warning light keeps glaring at me “do something!” So I stopped at a nearby gas station with a nice welcoming sign “FREE Air! Help Yourself!” I filled all four tiers, the warning light disappeared and I figured great – I am a genius!

The next morning I planned to take my bike to the gym as it’s a nice ten-minute ride from my house. However, it was raining again. So I decided to take the car.

I drove a block and suddenly I noticed that warning light again as if saying: “You thought you got rid of me, huh? Not so fast…”

I figured maybe it’s still because of the rainy weather, but then I noticed the car is a bit slanted to the left. I stopped the car, got out and found to my horror:

A flat tire!

Sometimes, life throws at you flat tires that cause you to drastically change your plans. My morning plan to unwind at the gym was thrown out of the window and I found myself driving to a small garage nearby, instead.

At this point, I drove 20 miles an hour with blinking lights to alert the cars behind me and the unavoidable thump, thump pounds of my flat tire.

At the garage, the service guy welcomed me and directed me where to park my car. On the phone, he had promised me it should take no more than fifteen minutes to solve the problem. And that was good because I had a meeting two hours later.

His first order of business was “bring me the lock so I can remove the tire”

I looked in the back where there were two compartments. One was empty the other included a pouch with a bunch of tools – but no lock. We then looked under the spare tire – nothing.

We checked the glove compartment – nada!

At this point, I asked the service guy:

“With all your garage tools here, you don’t have this little lock? “Nope, you should have it! It should be in the car somewhere.” He retorted.

We looked at least three times – and there was no lock. At this point, I dreadfully asked the guy: “Does this mean I need to go the dealership?” I tried to avoid this and the guy confirmed: “Yes, they should have it.”

We gave it one last try, and to our grand surprise that sneaky lock was found in that pouch we saw earlier, but in a super easy to miss small pocket.

At last, I gasped we’re getting closer…

The guy quickly removed the tire with that magic lock and then started filling up the tire with air, spraying some liquid on the tire, and finally examining it closely for any bubbles or severe bruises that could have caused the air to escape.

“Do you see any bubbles?” I knowingly asked since earlier I googled “How to fix a flat tire” and the water bubble test came up.

“Nope. Nothing yet.” He responded,

After a few minutes of spraying and no bubbles, the service guy decided “That’s strange. Well, we’ll have to go with plan B.”

He dropped the tire in a half-filled tank of water and again examined both sides of the tire for any sign of bubbles to indicate the source of the puncture. But the water was steely quite with not even a hint of any turbulence.

“Could it be the rain?”

I went back to my old assumption. “Nope. Rain could drop the air pressure slightly but not to a flat tire state like when you came in” Said the guy.

He gave it another ten minutes and concluded:

“Pretty strange. I have no idea why it didn’t show bubbles. That’s the only way to fix a flat tire. I’ll put it back on and you watch the air pressure closely, now. Very strange!”

“How much do I owe you for this?” I asked.

“Oh, you’re good no worries.” He quickly responded with that “very strange” expression still painted on his face.


As much as we want clear lines of cause and effect running through our stories to make sense of the world around us, life sometimes throws you those irresolute greys we can’t quite explain what do they mean.

And that’s fine, too.

Lots of marketers use visual storytelling to depict challenges that always end up with a happy ending with the customer, forever grateful for finding that incredible widget that completely changed her life.

This overused formula has become tired and less compelling for savvy audiences that can smell BS miles away. Just consider that today 2 billion monthly active users – like you and I – produce 500 hours of video on YouTube – every minute!

With that amount of visual content also comes sophistication.

Behind every grand business, there’s an authentic behind-the-scenes story aching to be told‬.

People are expecting to see real slices of life with their full spectrum of emotions and outcomes in order to begin to believe your message.

Knowing that “grey stories” also count, look closely around your business and find stories that on the surface may not mean much, but they help paint a more authentic picture of your brand experience.

This narrative approach partially relates to a brand documentary style where you communicate those so-called backstages or Behind-the-Scenes Stories that actually show “how the sausage is made” help to better humanize your message.

The more your audience perceive your message as believable, the more chances they’ll act on your call-to-action. 

So, what’s going on in your backstage?

Need help capturing these real-life stories that truly represent your business? Feel free to call me 305-985-3450 or email me shlomi_at_visualstorytell_dot_com

Shlomi Ron

Shlomi Ron is the founder and CEO of the Visual Storytelling Institute, a Miami-based think tank with a mission to bring the gospel of visual storytelling from the world of art into a more human-centric and purpose-driven marketing. A digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience working both on the agency and brand sides for Fortune 100/500 brands such as Nokia, IBM, and American Express. He started VSI to combine his marketing expertise with his passions for visual stories stemming from interests in classic Italian cinema and managing the estate of video art pioneer, Buky Schwartz. At VSI, he helps brands rise above the communication noise through visual storytelling consulting, training, and thought leadership. Select clients include Estée Lauder, Microsoft, and Cable & Wireless – to name a few. He currently teaches Brand Storytelling at the University of Miami’s Business School. Thought leader and speaker at key marketing conferences. He is also the host of the Visual Storytelling Today podcast, which ranks in the top 10 best business storytelling podcasts on the Web. His book: Total Acuity: Tales with Marketing Morals to Help You Create Richer Visual Brand Stories. Outside work, he is a nascent bread baker, The Moth fan, and longtime fedora wearer likely to jive with his classic Italian cinema interest.

All stories by: Shlomi Ron

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