• Warren Leppik

The cost of a narrative void

Story isn’t optional. It is critical. Why? Isn’t that the mission statement or vision? No.

In his book Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen Donald Miller asserts “Most business are creating noise that is confusing customers and that is costing them money. Customers don’t care about your story, they care about theirs. Story makes music out of noise”. Businesses aren’t clearly articulate why dealing with them will help prospects survive and thrive. Worse, if they are creating video, they’re putting the wrong people on camera. No one wants to hear why YOU think you’re great. DEMONSTRATE AUTHORITY through client testimonials. Real examples of serious experience helping others win the day. “Great testimonials give future customers the gift of going second” says Donald.

Beyond clarity that aids in closing more sales, story addresses the cost of what Donald refers to as a “narrative void”. There is an epidemic of disengagement in today’s workplaces. In Donald’s words “Most senior executives can’t explain the overall narrative of the organization so how can employee’s see where they fit?”

A story is what drives the most successful businesses in the world. It gets everyone pulling in the same direction. Everyone knows which way they’re going. Seems easy enough. But while most companies have a lot of the pieces, in my experience, the majority of business are too close to their story to see it clearly. More than likely because most companies are composed of multiple stories. Which one do you focus on to create engagement? When you’ve been steeping in it for years, if not decades, marketing the way you are because that’s the way we’ve always done it, it is almost impossible to see the truth from the inside. For many its hard to stop doing the things that made them successful even when they no longer work. So you end up saying a whole pile of things, around the one thing you should be focusing on, which clouds the minds of both your staff and prospects, robbing them of the clarity they need to engage. Story provides clarity so that you’re not cloudy about what you do best. Something that creates buzz within the company and something staff are excited about. Something you’re proud of, that says what you do in a way that none of your staff have ever been able to say it.

It’s been said that you can’t become unaware of something once aware of it. Organizations need observations from someone who can see your organization differently – starting from the point of knowing nothing. Its more than asking questions. Its assertively challenging the status quo and combating “The Curse of Knowledge”: forgetting what its like to not know what you know.

With clarity, staff feel better about the company and are proud to present it. And when the pride is there, when going up against competitors, staff stand a little taller knowing their story clear articulates why they’re better than anyone else. Staff love to tell it, they want to tell it and that energy builds your business. The truth is that marketing materials are more for your staff than your prospects. If a company is scraping by with marketing that is “meh” and then one day, it becomes THIS IS GREAT!, it makes it easier for salespeople to acquire new customers because they know and believe in why they are the best solution to the problem and are enthusiastically sharing that story, through the passionate stories of satisfied customers, with prospects.

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