May 18, 2016

Why Your Story Is Important

Eric Nardo

Why Your Story Is Important

What does story do?
An effective story helps sell your brand, it communicates itself effortlessly to your audience and defines who you are. Story can serve as the centerpiece for all your marketing efforts, attracting customers and top notch talent. It can align your team’s vision and even change the way your employees perceive their roles in the company. The power of story is unquestionable, but how can it have this degree of impact?

The biology of story
Put simply, story is compelling. The soul of a company’s story should help explain why the company exists. Most consumers are savvy enough to recognize the “whats” and “hows” of your business. Most of these strategies are inferred; how you solve problems, what your product offerings are, etc. Story is more than that. Story is not marketing or advertisement copy. It is your company’s mission and aspirations.

Square Space - Build It Beautiful

Squarespace | Build It Beautiful

Just Starting Out?
It is important to note that story is not brand, the two concepts are not interchangeable. Story is more specific to your company ethos and culture. Don’t become distracted by aesthetic directives like color or typography, and don’t be mislead by your founding narrative; while important, these are not your company story. They can be considered “smaller stories,” informing your company story, but they are rarely enough to drive it.

Square - Start Selling Today

Square | Start Selling Today

An exercise to get you thinking
If your company has been established but hasn’t ever attempted to draft a story or, perhaps, is in the process of rebranding, remember: What satisfies us and how we define happiness tends to shift and evolve every five years. This notion can provide a powerful exercise. Review your company history, beginning at the inception. Start with year one and list (in one sentence) what your company represented that year. As you move forward each year toward the present, the larger narrative should begin to emerge. Look for through-lines to direct your story as you complete each year. You are looking to see how your ethos has evolved, changed or expanded, and what the constants have been throughout. You might be surprised to see how you’ve evolved year to year from this perspective.

Consider talking to your customers. Ask them how they define your company and/or services. Learn how customers are describing your brand in voice and tone. The feedback from your consumers can be both valuable and revelatory.

airbnb - Welcome Home

Airbnb | Welcome Home

In closing, remember to keep it simple and keep it brief. Your story should:

• Make a connection to your audience

• Give your company a voice

• Livebothon and offline

• Represent a total message (not just a statement)

• Define you and your customer experiences

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