Friday, May 27, 2011

Who Is Telling Your Business Story? You or Your Competitor?

In a business context we often forget that others are human beings. Too often we lump everyone into buckets: co-worker, customer, prospect, vendor, boss, etc...  But everyone is a person first and that means they have emotional responses to everything.  When you fail to connect with them at the level of their soul you are vulnerable to a charismatic competitor who can come in and take their attention.

Both companies and individuals struggle with how to tell their story.  This has gotten more complicated in the social media world as we are constantly facing new venues where we need to present ourselves (live and online). Marketing has become very data focused and the importance of the story seems to be lost on some.  Yet those who are excelling in every industry usually have got a firm grasp on how to position themselves via how they tell their own story.

Since the beginning of time people have gathered to hear stories. Ancient tribes relied on the power of the story for education, entertainment, social engagement and survival. They did not share graphs and statistics around the fire.  Parents tell their children bed-time stories, not bed-time spreadsheets and PowerPoints.  It is natural for us to be drawn to a story.  There is nothing primal about marketing speak that has been cleared by the legal department.

If you are not able to communicate your story you lose.  We all know the difference between a great book or movie and a lousy book or movie.  People want to be inspired.  Many professionals have forgotten this and allowed corporate communications to abandon style for substance?  It sounds good to tell the CEO that you are all about high-level content marketing (CEO's love to hear that), but if nobody in your community cares then the company will fail.

Telling stories is how successful sales organisations win market-share.  We need to look no further than Apple.  Steve Jobs weaves captivating stories around every product launch.  People question why he has such power on the stage that moves people to buy his latest gadgets, and yet the answer is simple.... he is a storyteller. While his presentations are wonderfully produced, it is not the bells and whistles that matter.  Other CEO's have great visuals and yet suck the energy out of the room when they open their mouth.

If your organization has never had a meeting to discuss your corporate story then my belief is that your company is not being heard. I find it fascinating when I work with clients, as often there is no consistency in what is being said about the company.  The CEO has one message, while finance has another.  Marketing and sales are in total disconnect around messaging.  Most employees have no idea what to say, so they say nothing.  The business has gag order on the story and they wonder why nobody in their community cares about their latest press release.

This is not just about PR and marketing.  Knowing how to tell your story to each audience and why they even care is paramount to your success and the bottom line.  If your company is lagging it might be because there is no story.... or worse, you are abdicating the story of your industry (and your company) to be told by your competition.  Guess what, when your competition tells the story, you do not shine.

Is your company lacking a story?  Are you tossing out jargon, facts and figures without any emotional connections to your audiences.  Are you boring people?  You can expand your reach into your business community via the art of telling your corporate story.

Are you an individual who is out of work or feeling stuck in your job?  Why would anyone offer you an opportunity?  Do you think a resume or a LinkedIn profile is all you need to capture the attention of a potential employer?  Without a compelling story you are just a face in the crowd.

The good news is that everyone has an interesting story.  Who is telling yours?  Anyone?  Your story will not happen by accident.

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

***Contact me to help you find your corporate story.  thom(at)

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