I was sitting at a donut shop this morning working on some graphics and the man next to me noticed. We started talking about PhotoShop and I told him I don't consider myself a graphic designer, but I like to use images and video to tell stories on behalf of my company.
He asked "What does your company do?" It's a standard, polite question, and I knew I needed to be quick before he grabbed his box of Krispy Kremes and left. But, I didn't want to launch into a stock tagline or give him a so-called "elevator speech." So, I just asked him a simple question.
"Do you pay taxes?"
His eyebrows furrowed and he said "Well... yes. Of course. Probably more than my share."
Now, I know that religion and politics are two subjects that are generally taboo to talk about - especially with people I've just met. My point wasn't to put him in a defensive stance. So I followed up, "Do you feel like your tax investments are worthwhile?" He said, "Well... sometimes, but there's a lot of waste going on."
I said, "We want you to know when your investment in government REALLY pays off. Amazing things are happening every day... work that saves the public time and money, saves lives... or simply makes our world better. We help innovative government organizations and their partners tell those stories."
I told him about a man whose life was saved by the "whole plane parachute" developed through SBIR funding in collaboration with NASA. We talked about about a solar powered wheelchair that college students in Virginia developed through an invention competition. We talked about how pianos and utility power boxes serve as canvases for paintings that adorn the streets of a small city in Colorado - and how they make their downtown beautiful in so many ways.
We had a solid 30-minute conversation about these "stories of innovation." He left with a smile on his face to go along with his donuts and coffee.
Government and their partners have an obligation to share their stories - good and bad - with those who trust them with their tax dollars. At Quindar Media, we like to focus on projects and organizations that are exceptional and creative - to tell the stories of ideas and projects that make a real impact... stories that make people smile.
"Strategic communications, public relations and media production expertise" might be what we do. The joy and smiles that come from sharing those stories is why we do it. (Along with the donuts, of course. Yum.)
-Timothy J. Allen