It is important to stay on top of all of the emerging marketing trends and technology-driven tactics as best you can. But, you also have to realize that many of these strategies and trends will go out of style just as quickly as they arrived.
One thing, however, that will never go out of style or become irrelevant is your company story, especially if that story is compelling enough that it commands the attention of consumers and makes them take notice.
Producing a company story that achieves this kind of response is not an easy mission. It’s one thing to slap an “About Us” page onto your website and an entirely different (and much more difficult) task to make a genuinely gripping company story that captivates consumers and encourages them to stand by your brand for years to come.
Arguably, this is why so many people choose the former and don’t spend the time to craft an excellent company story; it’s easier for them to chase the next trend or new marketing channel than it is to think about how to make a standout story.
What Stops Companies From Creating A Superb Company Story?
Aside from the idea that businesses pursue other tactics because they are easier than crafting a great company story, the second biggest roadblock for companies creating their story is themselves. A lot of business owners settle for a simplistic ‘About Us’ page because they don’t believe that their story is worthy of anything better. It’s all too easy to get bogged down in feelings of being regular and run-of-the-mill.
You don’t want to lie and over embellish. If you didn’t get the vision for your company on the top of a Himalayan mountainside, then don’t tell your customers that you did. That said, even humble beginnings can make for a compelling story if you know what you’re doing.
A mobile app builder, Bizness Apps, started from humble beginnings in a college dorm room. But since then, it’s turned into a large company helping small businesses figure out how to build apps to compete with big brands.
The other deterrent that prevents people from writing their story is knowing how and where to begin.
The 4 Steps To Crafting A Great Company Story
It’s probably been awhile since you’ve written any story. But, if you reach back into the memory bank to your grade school English class, you’ll remember that stories have components like Who, What, Why and When. Your company’s story is no different. There are four steps to writing this piece.
The Why And The What: This is the single most important aspect of your company story. It’s your mission, your quest. Frodo set out for the Shire to destroy the One Ring; Luke Skywalker strived to defeat Darth Vader, Odysseus journeyed to return home.
What did you set out to do? Why did you make your company? Maybe you wanted to be the most ethical or environmentally friendly business in your industry. Or, you wanted your restaurant to serve the freshest, healthiest food.
Whatever your company’s unique mission may be, this Why is what we are talking about when we say ‘Pitch Your Promised Land.’ It’s the end goal that your company is striving to achieve and acts as a commitment to your customers, both current and future. It lets them know the What that they can expect from your brand and how you can change their world in a way that no other similar company promises.
The Who: Next, you have to identify the characters that make your quest possible and what their roles are. As a business owner, are you the hero? Or is it your collective team?
It may even be your customers. By describing the Who in as much detail as possible, you humanize your company and put a face (or faces) to the brand. Every story needs characters.
The Where: Your company environment is the next big component to your company story. The setting, in this case, can mean a number of things.
It could be the physical location of your offices, how they are structured, even details like how employees dress and act around the office can allow customers to envision what the environment and business culture is like. This helps give your story more shape and tone.
The How: The last consideration for your company story is the How. More specifically, how do you want customers to feel when they read your story. Should it be quirky and make them laugh? Serious and pull at the heartstrings?
The How is a blend of how you want the customer to feel and what they want to believe. Not everyone may want a serious company story. You have to understand the customers you are trying to reach and what sort of emotional level they are willing to connect on.
How To Pitch Customers On Your Company’s Promised Land
As we mentioned above, the single most important element to your company story is the why and the what, specifically your Promised Land. What sort of future do you promise to bring to customers? It also helps set a waypoint for everyone in your company.
The Promised Land is the North Star, and everyone from product development to sales and marketing to the new, college intern should be headed in that direction to the point that, when friends ask them what they do for a living, they forego their job title and reply with the end goal of your Promised Land.
As you craft your company story and dream up its Promised Land, there are several considerations you want to think about.
Aligned With Customer Desires And Emotions: This is the most obvious trait, but people have to want to go to your Promised Land. You may aspire to have the only coffee shop that requires everyone to talk in Pig Latin, but unless you have a customer base that also shares in this weird desire (unlikely), then your Promised Land is going to be a party of you.
When your Promised Land is aligned with customer desires, they are going to be more emotionally invested in the journey to reach that place.
Unique: Businesses are often told to identify their unique selling point (USP), what makes their products, services or experience different from anyone else’s.
Your Promised Land is very closely connected to your USP. As such, whatever future you promise customers should be unique to your company. In other words, they won’t be able to reach this goal without you, and they especially won’t be able to get there with any of your competitors.
The best app makers are very similar but they all try to differentiate with a different unique selling point.
Attainable, Yet Whimsical: A lot of companies tout a rigid and unimaginative Promised Land; they tell us what their company does and how their products work. They may even go so far as to tell us how they are different from competitors.
But, they fail to make any compelling case as to why this matters or why the customer should care and take an interest. Your Promised Land should be concrete enough that people have a clear idea of what it looks like, but it should also have an air of mystery and fantasy to it.
Consider Coca-Cola’s original slogan: Drink Coca-Cola. It’s too concrete and doesn’t produce any imaginative thoughts or feelings. Now, consider their current slogan: Taste The Feeling. Essentially, we’re still being told to drink Coca-Cola, but in a way that’s more whimsical and promises both something real and concrete, but also aloof and imaginary.
Your Promised Land can even push the envelope on what is actually attainable. It could be an extreme limit or unachievable goal, as long as people are motivated to pursue it anyways. In this case, it isn’t about reaching the Promised Land but coming as close to it as possible.
A strong, compelling company story will generate more long-lasting, hyper-loyal customers. Before a customer truly buys into your brand and its products, they first must buy into your company story. Once they have bought into this story, your products and services become a vessel for them to attain this dream future that you’ve promised.
Since creating a compelling story is challenging and takes a high level of creativity, if you are really at a loss as to what your Promised Land looks like and where, to begin with creating your story, think about asking your customers why they choose your brand.
You’ll be surprised at the wealth of material and responses you’ll get back. They may tell you more about your Promised Land then you even know.