When you tell your business story, you’re not JUST telling the story of how your business began. It’s not a cute couple of paragraphs on the About Page. A business story is so much more than that.
The story is an illustration of who/what the business is and should reflect what’s important to you as seen in your culture. So how do you encapsulate such a big undertaking in your business story?
The key is consistency.
Creating a Great Business Story
Stories are all around us. While there’s the larger business story, there are all different kinds of smaller stories that contribute to and reinforce the larger story you’re telling. Think of these as chapters within your business story. Consider a work of literature. There are the things that are happening within the novel—the plot. Then, if you’re analyzing it through the lens of a critic, you can enjoy the novel for its broader, overarching theme as well. The plot/action supports the theme or the larger message intended by the writer.
Let’s apply that to business storytelling. You have a story, things that have happened that say something about your business. For instance, you may have a story about partnering with a local nonprofit, but the story has a larger context—it’s really about why you chose that nonprofit.
Stories tell who/what your business is or wants to be. They illustrate your culture or goal in a more effective way than simply telling people who you are. Before you get too deep in telling your business story, you want to think about the overarching theme that alll of your stories should help build.
While your tagline, mission, and vision statements can advance that message, stories are much more memorable and sharable. Here are a few ways you can build on your larger business theme through smaller stories (remember those chapters mentioned earlier?):
While you certainly can tell customer stories for many of your most loyal customers, the ones that will be the most valuable from a marketing perspective are those that align with your story theme. Again, returning to the nonprofit example from above, if your business theme is about giving back and supporting the community, you want to highlight customer stories that support that narrative.
Here you can highlight the work your staff is doing. Give some thought to what they specialize in, what struggles they’ve overcome, and how those things tie into the larger theme you’re trying to convey. This shouldn’t be a quick highlight of their hobbies and where they went to college. You can do that elsewhere. If you’re going to present their story as part of the business’ story, you want to focus on how it ties into your culture theme.
Tell the stories of the early pioneers at your business or in your industry. How did their work set the stage for the things you are doing today? Again, tie it into your theme to build the business culture you desire.
Focus on the successes that you’re driving. Go beyond the easy wins and talk about the people behind them. Human interest stories are powerful but you want to maximize their power and effectiveness by selecting the ones that support your theme in a cohesive, effective way. If you randomly select to tell stories from things happening across your business and Alameda, you will miss out on the power of the story to highlight a larger theme. You’ll simply have some good news.
Telling your business story is a powerful tool to help people remember you and what you’re doing in Alameda. When you tie it into your culture or a desired theme, your efforts can transform our area.