A legend in the promotional industry, Bobby Lehew, Chief Content Officer at commonsku, probes through the importance of storytelling in marketing. Taking inspiration from his literary obsession, Lehew creates highly acknowledged presentations which now pushes him beyond the swag business, and into marketing courses and workshops across the nation.

From screen to swag, Lehew finds parallelism within the works of movie industry icons Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, and the advertising business. Using the common literary device known as monomyth, Lehew discovers that the hero’s journey applies to more than just stories. With the customer as the hero, and the marketing company as the mentor, Lehew describes the relationship as that of Luke and Yoda from Star Wars; marketers have to hand the customer the lightsaber solution so that they may overcome their business’s promotional challenges.

Lehew defines promotional services as an emotional transaction, building more than just relationships, but creating the emotional bonds between the product and individual. Lehew finds that swag is not defined by its physical components, but by the emotions they can evoke. He attests that for this reason, being in the swag business is just as rewarding as receiving swag.

Lehew’s influence and dedication to the promotional industry is undoubtedly prominent. His understanding of customer ideals and psychological needs fuels the storyboards of swag and touches those who receive it. Bobby Lehew surely redefines swag’s personality from impersonal to exciting.

Time Stamps

1:00: Introduction

4:00: Beyond the swag business: presenting for B2B & marketing workshops

4:38: Bobby & the art of storytelling

6:00: The customer is the hero of the story

7:43: The Monomyth: our hero’s journey

11:20: Bridging the customer from problem to solution

14:45: Asking questions and the importance of “why?”

16:20: Evoking emotions is the swag business’s job

18:00: Getting in touch with your product’s emotional delivery

20:00: Creating swag is as rewarding as getting them

24:00: Advertising is an emotional transaction


“Start with the problem and not the product, what is the purpose they’re [the client] trying to achieve?”

“We don’t ask a lot of the ‘why’ questions in this business, and we should.”

“One way for this industry in particular to get up from under the inferiority complex is to fall in love again with what the medium does and what impact it has on the emotional landscape.”

“These customers are trying to achieve something and it’s almost always emotion.”

“When you get in touch with what your product does on an emotional level, you can open up a whole lot more in terms of conversation, and stories too.”