We all know the deep implications storytelling has on our daily lives. The single most popular way of exchange is not a sales transaction on Amazon, but the telling and consuming of stories among friends and tv (or device screens). We are wired for stories. So it’s baffling that business leaders still have not harnessed the potential of it. They limit its use to marketing, forgetting that there is a bigger story that they need to write first before the smaller stories start to work, sustainably and efficiently. I was once a professional storyteller when I worked in advertising. The short-lived nature of campaigns always bothered me because they seemed so limited in their impact and so dishonest. It was only until recently, when I revisited storytelling as the way of creating the foundation for a business with my corporate clients, that I realized that every entrepreneur needs to write her or his core story, first. There is a strategic story that never changes, which defines the tactical stories that come from it. Without it, our storytelling efforts are drops in an ocean, forgotten in the noise of this noisy world.
What is this strategic, core story? It is the narrative that dictates the reason why we believe our business should exist. It is our admission ticket into our market. It is the causal pitch. It says, very clearly and intentionally, “Here is why what I do matters.” Most people are quick to use products, services and experience to tell their story. While these are good things, they are not the reason you exist. The strategic core story is the one that activates a founder’s purpose and makes it visible to the world: “I believe that I can change something for the better, and here is how.” Our core story makes a promise of value. This value then crystalizes into offerings (our products and/or services). But the offerings are never the drivers of a story.
Be very aware: If you limit your core story to the things you offer, you put an expiration date on your mission because it is tied to fleeting things. Our mission, however, should never expire, because it is tied to a problem we promise to solve.
Write your core story first and all the other little stories will follow. Guaranteed.