I have a business storytelling brother from a different mother, and we grew up across the great pond from each other. His name is Bryan Adams, founder of Ph-Creative in London and Liverpool, UK, and author of Getting Goosebumps: A pragmatic guide to effective inbound marketing. Bryan joins me this week on our first simulcast podcast. You can hear it on Business of Story podcast or Getting Goosebumps. (We’re like WWII allies battling the tyranny of of bad business communications for the betterment of humankind)
Here are my top 10 takeaways from our conversation about the universal power of business storytelling for your professional services firm here, or over there.
- Business communicators are focused on the tactics of digital marketing and are not getting the traction they want because they are not getting their brand stories straight first.
- Don’t re-invent how to craft stories, look to resources like Hollywood on how to map and structure stories for your professional services firm.
- Take the time to know your audiences and what stories they are living and telling themselves about your market category and brand.
- Appreciate how to tell different types of stories to get different types of responses depending on where your customers are on their sales journeys
- Ask yourself: How brave are you when it comes to telling an authentic story about your professional services firm?
- When you dilute your business stories, you neuter their magic.
- When human resources and customer service get involved in marketing, you can stop manufacturing synthetic stories that don’t drive your business.
- Like quitting an addiction, having the guts to admit that you have a brand narrative problem is the first step to crafting authentic business stories for your professional services firm.
- To make storytelling work in your organization, first find the evangelist in the room (they’ll reveal themselves in the first 60 seconds), then tap your first follower to help you capture the imagination of your early majorities by having them interact with their own story, and finally your laggards (usually the old guys in the room) will reluctantly come along with the journey. (BTW, the old guys also reach out a couple days after the session with a note of gratitude that they re-ignited their inner storyteller. They become like kids again, it’s great)
- Here are the three steps to crafting your brand story:
- First, sit down and write your story: why you do what you do. And don’t over intellectualize it. Write from your gut. Click here for a free online tool that will help you write your why story.
- Then, set your personal story aside, grab another glass of wine or beer, and write your brand story. You can use this same tool. Don’t over intellectualize it. There’s plenty of time for that later.
- Your third step is to write your customer story using the same process.
- Finally, compare your three stories and identify where the opportunities are to connect your shared values with your customers, and understand the gaps in that relationship in your purchase process, follow up, customer service, etc., and bridge them operationally to craft, tell and live truly authentic brand stories.
Now you have the foundation for an epic brand story that places your customer at the heart of the share, authentically shares why you do what you do, and connects you values with their to create evangelists for your product or service offering and brand rituals.
Bonus tip: Read Bryan’s book:
Resources from the Show
- “Getting Goosebumps,” by Bryan Adams
- “Winning the Story Wars,” by Jonah Sachs
- The Getting Goosebumps Podcast
- “Purple Cow,” by Seth Godin
- The Content Warfare Podcast, with Ryan Hanley
- “Houston, We Have a Narrative,” by Randy Olson
- Canva Designs