While at one of my first Emerge Luncheons (which I love and would highly recommend) I sat with a lot of people I had never met. There was a particularly popular speaker, and the place was packed. As with any professional small talk we asked each what the other did for a living. I was talking to a young lady from Procter and Gamble (an excellent company & corporate citizen). I asked what she did, and she replied, "I'm a chemical engineer at P&G. What do you do?" I told her that I was a graphic designer to which she said, "I was thinking about being a graphic designer." I found that ironic because, as I commented, "I considered being a chemical engineer for a while."
She looked at me like I had just insulted her mother. She didn't say anything to me the rest of the meeting, but shot me glares that screamed, "A simply artsy person like you could never do what I do." Perhaps there are engineers and designers alike who will be insulted by this statement, but I'm a pretty dicey that way. Designers and engineers are more alike than you may think.
In our proanarchy society we (and especially we designers) tend to view rules as a collective stifler to our creativity and a hindrance to the overall process. We think that surly things would be better, easier or more fun if they were done outside the boundaries of some arbitrator handing down of irrational and irrelevant edicts. Surely we know best. We view rules as though their sole purpose is to make life, the game or the product worse. Most of the time that's not a reflection of reality. Most of the time the rules can (or at least are meant to) make things better. When it comes to life or games or Search Engine Optimization, we are often better off playing by the rules.
Seth Godin says that, "Some marketers focus so hard on the facts of their offering that they forget to tell a story at all." That is no doubt true. In the mind of a consumer facts have little value if they cannot be applied to self. You can tell me all the facts in the world about the effectiveness of a bulletproof vest, but that knowledge will mean a lot more to me if you start off with, "Don't look now, but someone's about to shoot you in the chest." And there is my main point: The stories we tell can sell a product, but (as Seth also points out) they can't help a client unless our stories are authentic. I might buy the vest, but once I realize you were lying to me, I'm going to cram it down your throat. Our stories can't be lies ... but they don't have to be true.