In earlier posts, we’ve referred to storytelling as a key component of marketing, regardless of the distribution medium. Most companies know they have a story of some kind but it’s not always easy to tell it in clear concise terms.
We recently discovered this for ourselves in redoing our company About page. In asking everyone to write a short bio for the new page the general response was as if we have asked people to eat a bowl of boiled okra, and for those of you wondering, that’s not a good thing. To a person, everyone said they hated writing about themselves and didn’t know what to say, so we changed it up. We wrote everyone’s name on strips of paper and took turns drawing them out of a hat. So the net effect is that everyone got to tell someone else’s story. And you know what, it turned out pretty well. The profiles really captured the essence of each person and there was peace in the kingdom.
In thinking through this we found a great lesson not only about the value of storytelling but about how someone else can see things and capture a story in a way we may not be able to ourselves. While we intuitively knew this, the exercise we went through in our own company really solidified our understanding of knowing your story versus the ability to tell your story.
Time and time again we meet with clients who tell us amazing things about their companies, their commitment to quality, the incredible passion they have for their business, how they want to change the world one cup of coffee, one beer, one bicycle at a time. Yet seldom do we see any of this information in their core communication efforts.
In 99% of cases, the only thing that makes a company truly unique is their story and the components that make it up: the people. It’s the people in, and behind, a story that makes companies unique, the passion they bring, the fun they have, their unique approach to problem-solving that makes their customers want to do business with them.
We get that, and more than anything else, we love helping clients find and tell their stories; even if we’re still learning to tell our own.
Photo credit: Rory MacLead