So much has been written on storytelling in business that a subset of the marketing community is pushing back against its purported benefits. Yet, increasingly creative agencies big and small are specializing in helping clients better tell their story. More and more conferences are dedicated to the topic. Content marketing and copywriting professionals now fall under the umbrella of storytelling.
All of this activity is taking place with the hope that customers will identify with the story, tell it, and share it. This sounds a lot like the overall purpose of branding and marketing and that makes me a believer in the power of storytelling.
When it works, it really works. I am not a fan of overly simplistic stabs at business storytelling. Those attempts rob brands and businesses of what makes them interesting in the first place, namely, their depth and complexity. This does not mean everything should be “War and Peace” but it certainly should not be dumbed down to a tagline or strive for a one-word association.
I use two different constructs to help build an engaging narrative. The first answers seven questions and generally works better for B2B, professional services, and association clients. These require honest and uncomfortable answers to be successful.
- Where do we come from?
- Where is our world going?
- Who are our communities?
- What are we like?
- How do we behave?
- What is our purpose?
- What is our brand idea?