Why You Need a Strategic Story
Without a powerful strategic story, your main influencers can make up and spread whatever story they want about your business.
This will all but destroy any positioning, sales and marketing efforts you might undertake.
You already know that today’s customers are ruthless in their conversations about business.
Their conversations on digital media and in person can build your brand or reduce it to nothingness.
They can make or break your business or career overnight.
Therefore, an authentic business story is now more important than ever.
To survive, businesses must transform how they communicate and engage with their customers.
Transformation starts with your strategic story.
Without a great one, your business will fail.
Your organization needs a single narrative, a single strategic story that’s understood by every employee, supplier and customer.
Everybody needs to not only be telling the same story, but experiencing it and living it.
As a business, you need to be the creator of that their story.
Your strategic story must be authentic and match your customers’ experience of your business. When it does, you’ll achieve...
- Greater influence,
- Increased demand,
- Greater market share
- Customer loyalty your competitors will envy.
Why You Need a Strategic Story Right Now
The digital era has totally changed how people are informed, how stories are spread and if stories are believed.
Jeremy Rifkin calls it part of the Third Industrial Revolution, a paradigm shift that is completely befuddling to older, established businesses and their executive staff.
"Digital technology has changed how customers are influenced, how they make decisions, how, why and when they buy."
This change isn’t exclusive to the digital arena; it affects all areas of modern life offline and on.
As I said in a previous post, there is no demarcation line between online and offline; it’s just the world we now live in.
Today’s customers behave radically differently than in previous eras, and it’s not just the young and the millennials, it’s anyone who’s part of the modern world.
They are looking for companies that match their beliefs and values, and they have the technology to actively seek them out and do business with them while ignoring all others.
This creates an urgent need for businesses to distinguish themselves in the mind of the customer.
To do that businesses need to create a distinctive strategic story that resonates with their customers.
How to Create a Distinctive Story – Be Human
The problem is that technology has conditioned us to look for solutions in technology – “Is there an app for that?”
Business and marketing have become too technology centric.
The real solution lies in taking a much more human centric approach.
People don’t buy from technology; they buy from people.
They buy from people they like and trust.
To earn people's trust you must tell them a story they believe, a story that sets you apart.
You must tell them a story that stimulates their imagination and engages their heart.
If you win their hearts, the rest will follow.
To do that you need to enter into an authentic conversation with them; you can’t fake it.
This is so far removed from where most businesses and marketing are right now that just genuinely attempting such conversations will put you ahead of most of your competitors.
The Catch – You Must Believe in Your Story Too
Of course, it’s not enough to just have a conversation and create a new strategic story;
- You and your staff have to live that story.
A major purpose of creating a strategic story is to create a culture that allows a business to deliver a customer experience that customers expect and crave.
Customer trust and belief are built on your actions, your relationships, your performance and the performance of your products and services.
What you say only matters if it’s backed up by your actions and behaviour.
That's why so much advertising and advanced digital marketing techniques never truly work; customers instantly see through anything that’s contrived and inauthentic.
However, the bonus is it cuts both ways. That is if you create a strategic story that inspires you and your staff, then it motivates you to take action and behave accordingly with what you’ve stated in your story.
Not only that, but it also allows you to imagine and create new products and services that your competitors haven’t even thought of.
The most successful companies are those that have a vision of where they want to go and where they want to take us, and they make products and services to take us there.
They inspire us and make a difference in people’s lives, so we take action and sign up for the ride.
A company that has a well thought out strategic story can create products and services that amaze customers, push competitors out of consideration, and even define entirely new categories and markets.
Why Start-ups are Often Better at This
It’s often easier for a new business like a startup to create such a story.
As they are not weighed down by the baggage of established companies.
To a start-up everything is a new creation, a new story.
Whereas for established firms their challenge is:
- can they survive by just focusing on and defending their current business story,
- or do they have to make a fundamental change in the way they operate and create value.
If you want to change your world, you have to change your story.