With apologies to Rod Stewart – “every company tells a story.”
Every company has a story to tell, one worth listening to, but for the most part, one that exists in pieces all around the office. Oh, it’s all there, it just has not been gathered and assembled into a single cohesive message, and frankly, it’s usually easier for someone from the outside to find. Within the company, people have heard something so many times it just becomes part of the company lore and seems to be matter-of-fact when it is the exact opposite. The little gem, the nuggets, which people hold on to, those are the pieces customers look for, those are the pieces upon which a story is built.
Once we get an opportunity to look, all of the pieces are always there, but like the ingredients for a great recipe, unless you can put them together in the right order, they are just elements, each good but not reaching their full potential as part of a greater whole. In fact, most of our clients have multiple stories that should be told, and that’s where the fun begins. Weaving everything into the company’s origin tale, it’s purpose for being, and the message they want to deliver.
Ironically, building and crafting the message is not the whole story (yeah, that was intentional.)
But what really makes a story great is the listener, the audience/consumer. That’s why the story exists, for, without an audience, the story has no purpose. Knowing about an audience, who they are, what they want to hear, and how they want to hear it: brand voice.
Voice is all about connecting with the consumer, what is the tone, what are the words, what is the delivery that will connect with the most impact and best represents the brand. Words, cadence, delivery, tone all are parts of the voice, and understanding it and communicating it internally/externally is critical to consistent brand marketing.
The entire purpose of voice and story is to establish a rapport, a sense of knowing something about both the speaker and listener. That’s how relationships start, and ultimately that’s what storytellers want, a relationship with the audience, which by the way, helps the story evolve. The audience/customer input always impacts the story by definition. Once it has been told, the story becomes the audiences’ to share with their audiences; friends, family, and others. That type of brand loyalty is the gold standard; turning customers into fans.
By diving into all of this, we’re not trying to make this seem complicated, we’re trying to give some sense of the hard and deliberate work that leads to the magic. It’s not easy, but then again, easy never made a great story, did it?
Photo by Hans-Peter Gauster