In business it is important to communicate with customers. As I presented before, I think the most important question here is WHY. Question why the company is in business is key for relating with its customers or stakeholders. And here is where stories come in play.
I have a friend and I know him for a long time. We’ve been friends from high school and have spent a lot of time together. I must admit, I’m more of a listener than a talker, while my friend is on the opposite side, so we complemented each other. Each time we’d met we would talk about various things, yet there are some episodes or events that had stuck and are repeated very often. After a while I know his key stories on which he relies and enjoys telling. Each story is rehearsed and told so many times it becomes a staple, an anecdote. They become his hallmark. Now I know what stories are prepared for what occasion and when I can expect them. It’s the keywords that activate them, almost like in a search engine. When a keyword comes into the conversation, story is introduced. Like his having conversational toolbox ready, so not to be left of the material.
It is just that, a material about yourself. Stories that are written, edited and shaped for specific purpose.
Imagine another situation, a job interview. There is always a fixed amount of questions that are repeated, i.e. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?, Why did you apply?, How do you think you can benefit our company?, etc. Prepared answers could mean a good starting position compared to other candidates.
Companies also have the vast amount of anecdotes and stories, things that happened in their history that reflects what they stand for. Sources of these stories can be either employees, partners, managers, important events in evolution of the business, customers experiences or product development, either way all these work together to show reason WHY, or the core story of the company/brand.
These stories work on the outside; towards partners, customers, investors; as well as on the inside of the company; towards employees and management, to offer a consistent and clear reference frame. Like a big tree, some stories are used to communicate to the outside, so lets call that a treetop, while others improve the foundations of the business while communicating with its employees or investors, lets look at it as roots. The tree trunk represents the core of the company, its basic story.
Stories are here to help
Strategic planning, brand management or corporate communications have a difficult task of getting into new technologies and way to reach consumers. In their path, there are lot of forks in the road where they can lose their way or take to much time. Social marketing with new tool developed each day gives a lot of opportunities to play and lose focus. Brand campaign, sales campaign, summer campaign, this or that, its hard to be consistent.
It is my opinion that solution is in developing stories and communicating it through time and proper channels thus generating connection with the stakeholders of the brand/company. That way we can keep the focus and clear picture of brand core values. What do you think?