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Corporate storytelling

What’s your business narrative?

business narrative questions: the 5 WsWe believe in the power of the business narrative. If you tell a compelling story, chances are you’ll pique people’s curiosity and eventually win their trust. That’s why so many brands and businesses rely on stories to grow their audiences, build loyalty, and, yes, sell something.

But how do you craft a narrative for your business without sounding like you’re selling something? What if your story is boring? How do you create something you can be proud of? Here are some ideas to get you started.

Business narrative values any brand can use

1. Be intentional. If your brand strategy is tethered to your business goals, then you should already understand who your audience is and what they need.

In crafting a narrative, take these insights a few steps further. Research what types of content your target audience responds to and why. A narrative isn’t just a story they read on their Kindle before crashing for the night. Reach people when and where they’re most engaged.

Apply this same level of curiosity to your competition. Study your competitors to better understand what makes you similar – and different. Examine the formats and platforms they use in their storytelling, and tone and style they embrace. Follow the trajectory of their brand to better understand what worked and what didn’t.

Use what you learn to craft a narrative that is uniquely yours but demonstrates keen awareness of the marketplace and what people are saying about it.

2. Be honest. Nobody got where they are today by magic. Nothing will compel people to tune out more quickly than boilerplate platitudes and cliches. Speak honestly about where you’ve been and the hurdles you’ve had to clear to become the brand that people recognize today.

Telling the honest story of your brand requires thoughtful consideration. Resist the urge to stoop to the level of clickbait or melodrama. Be factual. Don’t make excuses. Avoid hyperbole, and use humor with discretion.

3. Be vivid. Nothing sounds more forced, artificial, tired, or phoned-in than content that relies on the same four informational bullet points every time. Paint a picture. Invoke all the senses. Weave meaningful details into your story. Try an unconventional narrative structure to really wake people up.

4. Be personal. Without characters, there is no story. Consider who makes your business possible: its founders, employees, investors, peers, partners, and customers. These are all characters in what is a potentially epic story.

Consider your brand from their perspective. What do they see? What do they know? How does the business influence their lives? How does it make them feel? What do they have in common? What makes them stand out?

Their stories are part of your story. They’re made up of human moments, honest insights, and raw realizations. Want to get away from a cookie-cutter, chronological, linear, predictable business narrative? This is one powerful way to do so.

Here are some examples of riveting business narratives.

Airbnb

Does the thought of staying in a stranger’s house make you uncomfortable? Airbnb creates community by immersing us in the lives of its hosts. The brief videos are warm, funny, and authentic.

Dove

Dove carries the weight of generations of beauty industry baggage with grace and dignity. With messaging that centers on confidence and empowerment, it forges an emotional connection and invites participation in a global dialogue about diversity and acceptance.

Warby Parker

The online retailer’s founding story is real and relatable, based on the founder’s experience going without glasses for one long college semester because they were out-of-reach pricey. Today, Warbys are ubiquitous – and socially conscious.

Corona

Remember the Chevy Nova? Well, it turns out that the tale of its poor performance in Latin America was just an urban legend. Along parallel lines, it’s easy to believe that COVID-19 would have had a negative effect on one of our favorite light beers. In fact, a strong brand story and a deft sense of humor helped Corona thrive in the age of coronavirus.

Nike

Nike sells shoes, but it embodies purpose. By examining real people’s lives, goals, fears, values, and triumphs, it allows its mission to guide the narrative.

Your brand may not be the next Nike, but it can use the same brand narrative tools to reach audiences, build credibility, and have a positive impact on the world. Consummate Prose is equipped to help brands of all sizes use business narratives to help them grow and reach their goals. Contact us today to get started.

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