Humans are filled with stories. We have the story that makes up who we are, the stories of our ancestors, the stories we consume in movies, books, and television, and the stories we gossip to our friends. Storytelling is natural to us, it’s how we communicate and express ourselves.
So, it’s no wonder why we use storytelling in our marketing — it simply works.
As a business owner, your story begins with your company story. It’s how you engage your target audience and build a connection with them. It’s what sets you apart from your competitors and establishes trust and authority in your industry.
A company’s story is a key part of its brand image. It helps customers and clients understand who you are, what you do, and why you do it.
Your brand story should be at the heart of all your marketing communications, from your website and social media to your sales collateral.
When done well, your company story should be consumed like a cherished novel. It should be a compelling narrative that makes people eagerly turn the page for more. However, unlike a novel, your story isn’t fiction. It’s the authentic, captivating tale of how your company came to be.
Now, it’s relatively easy to tell a company story, but what most brands struggle with is getting it to emotionally resonate with their audience. After all, your story is just one of many that people will encounter.
So, to effectively build a tribe of emotionally invested customers who will become your biggest advocates, keep reading. We’ll cover just how to do that and more.
The Hedgehog and the Fox
We all know of the story of the tortoise and the hare, but have you heard about the hedgehog and the fox?
It traces all the way back to 650 B.C. when Archilochus, a Greek poet wrote, “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”
Throughout history, scholars and philosophers alike have quoted and expanded on this intriguing concept. Then in 2017, psychologist Philip Tetlock conducted a study that compared the one-big-thing “hedgehog” experts with the many-little-things “fox” non-experts as a way to accurately predict geopolitical events.
Which do you think performed better? The hedgehog or the fox?
The fox outperformed the hedgehog by an overwhelming margin, and it is also a perfect example of how you can tell your company story in a way that truly resonates with your customers.
Why the “Many Little Things” Story of Your Company Outperforms “One Big Thing” Thinking
So what does a hedgehog and a fox have to do with the story of your company? Well, many American businesspeople tend to believe that success is built on a single big idea or “one big thing.” However, that isn’t the case.
Knowing “many little things” like the fox actually makes for a more compelling company story. It’s a fascinating tale of hopes and dreams, failures and successes, and realizations and refinements.
Customers don’t want to know the big thing… they want to know all the little things that make up who you are as a brand.
Take Facebook, for example. Their company story starts from humble beginnings, with just a few students in a college dorm room. But it quickly snowballed into something much bigger.
What was once a way to stay connected with friends and family has now become a global phenomenon used by over two billion people around the world.
Their story had ups and downs, but ultimately, it’s one that has inspired people everywhere. So much so, that it became a major motion picture.
Your company story is what will make you unique. It’s what will set you apart from your competition. And it’s what will endear you to your customers.
Don’t be afraid to tell your story, the good and the bad. All your customers are seeking is truth, and truth is what you shall give them.
8 Fundamental Steps for a Winning Company Story
Now that you have a deeper understanding of what truly resonates with your audience, let’s get into the fundamental steps you need to take to create a brand story that will win over even your toughest critic.
Determine Your Target Audiences and What Motivates Them
Your company story should be designed to appeal to your target audience, and understanding what they want and need will be the first foundational element in creating a story that resonates with them.
So how do we uncover what your audience desires? You can start by building your buyer personas.
Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer, based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When you know who you’re talking to, you can craft an authentic company story that will also speak directly to their needs.
You should consider:
- What are their demographics? (Age, gender, location, job title, etc.)
- What motivates them? (What drives their decision-making?)
- What challenges do they face?
- What do they need from you?
Answering these questions will give you a well-rounded view of the people you’re targeting, and help you focus your company story on what will resonate most with them.
Determine What Makes Your Organization Unique
To craft a compelling company story, you need to next understand what makes your organization unique.
What sets your company apart from others in your industry? What are your core values and beliefs? What do your customers love about doing business with you?
For example, if you’re a family-owned company, that’s only part of your story. If you’re the only company in your industry that offers a certain product or service, that’s part of your story, too.
When you can effectively showcase why your customers should choose your company over the others, you have the foundation for a company story that will both engage and persuade your audience.
Create the Story
Now that you know what your target audience wants and can identify what sets you apart from your competitors, it’s time to craft your enthralling story.
Your company story should be much more than a recitation of facts. It should be engaging, inspiring, and authentic. After all, your company story is the heart and soul of your brand.
Think of how every story is told. They have a beginning, middle, and end; they have the main character that faces conflict, and a plot with rising and falling action.
Your company story should follow the same structure. It should have a beginning – how your company was started. It should have a middle – how your company has grown and changed over time. And it should have an end – where your company is going in the future.
When you’re crafting your company story, be sure to keep the following in mind:
- Who are the main characters in your company story?
- What are their motivations?
- What challenges do they face?
- How do they overcome these challenges?
Answering these questions will help you develop a well-rounded company story that resonates with your target audience. From there, you can start creating content that brings your story to life. And don’t forget, company stories are always evolving, so make sure to keep yours up-to-date!
Ask for a Second Opinion of the Story
A well-crafted company story can make all the difference in whether or not a customer chooses to do business with you. That’s why it’s so important to get a second opinion on your company story before you share it with the world.
Reach out to both internal and external experts to get feedback on your company story. Be sure to consider their input when making changes to ensure that your final product is the best it can be.
After all, an expert eye can help you fine-tune your story and make sure it is telling the right message to your target audience.
Ask them questions such as:
- What did you like best about the story?
- What could be improved?
- Did the story make you want to learn more about the company?
- What feeling did the story leave you with?
With this valuable feedback, you can make necessary changes to your company story so that it has the maximum impact on your audience.
Add Graphic Representation of Your Story
Once you got the necessary feedback to refine your story, you’ll want to add a visual element using graphics. A company story is not complete without a strong visual.
This could be your company logo, or it could be an image or video that tells the story of your company. As long as it accurately represents your company, it will help communicate who you are more effectively.
Your company story should be clear, concise, and easy to follow. A graphic representation will help to solidify the message you’re trying to communicate.
When brainstorming ideas, think about what would be most impactful. A company story is meant to grab attention and leave a lasting impression, so make sure your graphics are up to the task.
So, you’ve got your story and your graphics, now it’s time to put it all together and sit your audience down for storytime.
At this stage, your company story is live where anyone can view it. Whether that be on your website, on TV, on social media, or a billboard, it’s time to start promoting your company story and getting people engaged with it.
There are a few ways you can do this; one way is by including excerpts of your company story on marketing materials such as brochures or website banners. You can also host events where you share your company story live, or even create video content that showcases different parts of your company story.
Whichever way you choose to promote your company story, remember that it’s an important part of building a strong and successful company. It’s a great way to connect with your audience, build trust, and foster loyalty. So make sure you take the time to craft a well-told tale and market it with mastery.
Monitor and Track Results
Your story is out there, now it’s time to monitor and track the results. Without the proper tracking methods, you won’t know what’s working and what isn’t. You’ll be left in the dark, stumbling around aimlessly without the next steps.
You can track your results by looking at your website analytics, social media metrics, and sales numbers. By understanding these key performance indicators, you’ll be able to gauge what’s working and where you need to make changes.
Remember, you should always change your company story as it evolves over time. As your company grows, so should your story.
Keep track of your results and use them to adapt your company story accordingly. Only by doing this can you ensure that your company story is always relevant and engaging.
Company stories are about heart. About who you are and the good things you are doing to help those around you. It’s about the hurdles you’ve overcome, the growing pains you endured, and the victories you’ve accomplished.
Remember that story of the hedgehog and the fox. Remember that what the audience truly gravitates toward is authenticity… and all the flaws that may come with it.
So, what’s your company story? It might be hard to boil down all of the good you’ve done into a neat and tidy narrative, but it’s worth it.
When you can follow these eight steps we’ve provided, you’ll be set up to build a company story that wins the hearts (and wallets) of many. It isn’t an easy journey, just as getting to where you are now wasn’t, which is why we’re here to help.
At Wizard of Ads™, we create and implement marketing strategies that build brilliant brand stories for a variety of businesses, big and small, within a diverse range of industries.
Book a call with us today for impactful brand story ideas, seamless marketing and advertising strategies, and more!