At a dinner, I was introduced to a gentleman whose family ran a jewelry store in downtown Los Angeles. We exchanged the usual small talk on how business was going and how long his family had been in the business. Later that evening, I visited his company’s website. The mission statement was the family history on how they started. Interesting as the story was, this was not a Strategic Story.
The following week, we met again at the same restaurant. I asked him if his company had a story. He assured me it had and then delivered to me the same story I had read on his website. When he finished, I asked him, “Do you have a Strategic Story in place?” He answered no, and then asked what is a Strategic Story?
You see, a Strategic Story is not the company’s mission statement, vision statement, or history on how the company got started. These statements are information on what the company believes, what path they have chosen, or how long the company has been established. So, if these aren’t a Strategic Story then what is?
A Strategic Story is designed and crafted to engage and motivate the listener towards a specific action or goal. Shawn Callahan put it this way, “Strategic stories are powerful because people can picture them, remember them and retell them. Well-developed stories not only answer the ‘Why?’ question but also convey emotion in a way that inspires people to take action in accordance with the new strategy.”
The question “Why?’ is probably the most important question that must be answered first. Why buy from us? Why are we your solution? Why do you trust us? The “Why?” we are changing direction; “Why?” we are better than our competition; “Why?” we have chosen this new path.
A Strategic Story is a story. It must be told visually and with emotion. We humans love patterns and when those patterns make connections to our emotions we enjoy not only hearing them, but we relish to retell the story to others.
In a global study of 450 enterprises it was found that 80% of the people working in those companies did not understand the strategy set forth by its leadership. That percentage is a lot higher in mid-size companies.
I believe you can walk into local restaurant or store, online or not, and ask any employee of that company what their company’s strategy for its product or service is, and you will either get a shy smile followed by the words, “I’m sorry I don’t know,” or a simple, “Who knows!” Entrepreneurs also face this same problem and are probably more at risk since they are trying to break into new markets. A Strategic Story is not just entertainment–it’s good business.
A Strategic Story is an excellent marketing tool, it is designed to inspire people to believe that your product or service is the answer they seek. We will continue tomorrow with crafting the design for a Strategic Story process.