Once upon a time…
These are probably four of the most iconic words (when strung together) that preface an emotional experience. It’s hard to determine just how many stories begin with this idiom, but suffice it to say, people have a pretty good idea what’s coming next after these words are spoken or read.
Now, consider the fact that marketing – at its very core – is supposed to encourage people to take an emotionally journey, which end result is to encourage them to act: to purchase, to vote, to participate, to do something. This is precisely what stories do.
So, why don’t more business pursue this marketing strategy?
It’s difficult to define your company’s story. Articulating a compelling narrative, which explains your business’ mission or purpose, requires an understanding of what Simon Sinek teaches with his “Why” mantra.
But just because this is hard to undertake doesn’t mean that it is impossible. Here are three questions to help begin drafting your company’s narrative:
Why did you start your business?
There was a reason why you started your business. And, it is not because you thought your boss was a jerk. Dig deeper.
Finding out why you started your business is going to require acting like a toddler, who is throwing a tantrum because she wants candy. Why? …because you need to ask more questions. Why? …because asking more questions helps peel back the layers. Why? …because you need to get to the heart of the matter. Why? Exactly. Asking “why” enough times will help you uncover the belief structure that drove you to start your own business.
Didn’t start the business, but are currently running it? Your question is very similar: Why are you still in business? …followed by a lot of “why’s”.
What are your company’s inherent strengths?
There are inherent strengths that your company has. These strengths are seen through people and processes that have been developed in the years the company has been in business, but you want to get to the heart of “why” those strengths exist.
Explore these inherent strengths. These are the differentiating factors that help your company stand out from the competition. It is vital that you understand what those strengths are and what drives those strengths to continue.
What kind of reputation do you intend for your business?
An alternative to this question is, “How will you measure the success of your company?” However, asking that question only explores responses that lack depth and breadth. A reputation transcends all aspects of success and provides the capstone for developing this “why” narrative.
Explore every aspect of your company’s reputation: customer service, partner relations, investor relations, community outreach… etc.