The Art of Engagement As Explained By One Of The Masters


I saw Donnie Deutsch (the ‘Master’ in the title), on the Late Show a while ago. If you don’t know who he is, then you’re probably not in advertising.

Donnie is, in fact, one of the most famous people in the ad agency business. He had his own killer agency for many years. Then he went on to host a great interview show on Bravo. Now, apparently, he has a sitcom on the USA network.

Donnie is one of these fast talking American Hucksters, but some of the advertising he has done over the years has been awesome.

This episode of the Late Show was from the Friday before the Superbowl and Stephen Colbert was asking Donnie about what makes a commercial great and worth spending several million bucks to show people.

His answer, not surprisingly, was that it was its humanity. According to Donnie, and I completely agree, If you can communicate your selling message in the context of a human story, it will not only be memorable and effective, it will have a very long life span.

If this sounds familiar, it’s probably because you have been reading some of my posts over the past year about what makes for engaging content here on LiinkedIn or anyplace else you choose to blog.

Digital marketers use this as their mantra and have been since they started trying to get people to spend money on social media marketing. Some of these people like to make it sound like storytelling is something they invented, but anybody with two brain cells to rub together knows that’s bullshit.

The storytelling some of us (not all by a long shot) do here is really nothing more than an extension of the storytelling that we were raised on pretty much everywhere…in ads, in TV shows, movies and books and through personal conversations.

Authenticity Is The Ultimate Expression Of Humanity In Communication

The humanity that makes for great communication is what a lot of us refer to as authenticity. And I actually think authenticity is a better word, because it allows the context to be widened.

This is especially true if you are trying to tell a story with something technical in it, and it doesn’t really lend itself to a strictly ‘human’ narrative.

Guys I know like Phil Friedman, Milos Djukic and Jeff Strickland do this especially well.

You might argue that this is a good example because I’m basically writing about writing. But  wait…there is a human element here and it’s very personal.

In Donnie’s interview he showed a Volkswagon SuperBowl commercial from a couple of years ago, (before Volkswagon stepped in the deep doo doo,)
I felt a very human emotion when I saw this commercial. A couple, in fact.

One was delight, because it’s a very charming spot.

And two was jealousy. Because when I saw that commercial on the SuperBowl, I remember very distinctly flying into a quiet fit of jealousy, wishing more than anything in that moment, that I had done that spot. Creative people do this once in a while. It’s the highest form of compliment you can pay someone in advertising.
(Note: There will probably be a commercial before the actual VW spot)

This commercial pretty much tells you all you need to know about authenticity in communication. Sadly, a lot of good creative people come up with concepts like this, but are not blessed with clients who have the balls to go for it.

Reveal Yourself. Chant It Before You Start Writing

I write a lot about not being afraid to reveal yourself in your writing. I do this because, well, a lot of people have told me they are leery about it. They don’t think their lives are interesting enough. Or they are shy. Or they are uber private. Or they feel they will embarrass themselves somehow.

Sorry, but all of these are lame-ass copouts. If you want to engage people, and this year has been declared The Year of Engagement by just about every guru who matters, then you really need to get over yourself.

Showcasing your expertise in the half-assed way that blogging experts tell you you should is bullshit too. Tell your story. People prefer to do business with people they like and trust. And the way that you get there is by revealing who you really are.

It’s not rocket science and only an idiot would give you a hard time about it. And who cares what idiots think anyway?

So that’s my advice for anybody who wants to get more engagement from their blogging.

There’s no reason why you should trust me, except of course, if you have come this far in this post, I’ve already engaged you, and I rest my case.


JIM JAN 2016I am what’s known, in today’s world, as a Communications Navigator. Through my own core skills as a strategist, writer & art director and with the help of a select group of insanely talented associates, I work with primarily B to B clients, large and small to create hard working communications in whatever sector of the marketing universe their strategy dictates the need to travel through. I am also a mentor, blog post editor and a pretty decent photographer.

If you have a marketing or communications challenge you would
like to discuss, (no obligation),  there are three ways you can contact me:

Direct Line: 416 463-3475
Skype: jimbobmur61

If you want to check out some of my work…
CV, Portfolio & Services:

If you are reading this article from within LinkedIn and would like
to read more of my editorial content you can access it here:

Finally, you can download my free ebook,
Small Business Communications For The Real World:

Copyright © 2016 by Jim Murray


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