Barack Obama


Okay that's not really a word, but it should be — to describe the failure of telling your story.

In a CBS News interview, President Obama said the biggest mistake of his first term was failing to "tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times."

David Meerman Scott agreed in his blog with the president's self-assessment and reflected back on a 2008 post titled "Ten marketing lessons from the Barack Obama presidential campaign." Lesson #3, Scott said, was "clearly and simply articulate what you want people to believe."

Robert Holland, who handles internal communications for a Fortune 500 company in Virginia, took issue with GOP presidential challenger Mitt Romney's comeback that the presidency is all about leadership, not storytelling.

"Yes, being president is about leading," Holland wrote in his blog, "but a big part of leadership is telling stories. Ronald Reagan knew it and that's why he is still called 'The Great Communicator.'"

Holland recalled the views of Carol Kinsey Goman, who counsels businesses on culture change. "Good stories are more powerful than plain facts," Goman said. "That is not to reject the value of facts, of course, but simply to recognize their limits in influencing people. People make decisions based on what facts mean to them, not on the facts themselves. Stories give facts meaning."

Businesses, nonprofits and public agencies routinely spout facts and talk about policies without connecting them to the audience they are trying to reach. Storytelling would help.

Dawn of Millennials

Millennials surge into the marketplace and political theater, eclipsing mom and dad as the favorite buyer and a key voting bloc.Macy's department stores are logging impressive growth by catering to "fashion-loving, smartphone-carrying, reality TV-watching young people" who spend $65 billion on clothes, accessories and shoes.

President Barack Obama is counting on the same age group to ensure his election to a second term.

Millennials literally are coming of age. Born between 1982 and 2003, this age group is cresting as they head off to college, get married, rent or buy homes and start families.

Macy's saw the wave coming as early as 2009, shifting its focus with dazzling results, says At Macy's annual shareholder meeting in May, company officials said same-store sales grew 5.3 percent, while online sales soared 40 percent. That trend is continuing in 2012. Revenue and profit growth translated into sharply higher share prices and a dividend to shareholders that has doubled twice.