corporate storytelling

A vision is critical to you as an individual and also as an organization - no matter what size organization or stage of development. For the entrepreneur, your vision is sometimes the only thing you have to sell and yet it can be more powerful than the largest client list, portfolio, or product catalog. Don’t forget most purchases are not logical but emotional. The rules for corporate identity, branding, advertising, and marketing have all changed over the last few years. These elements have become mainly emotional. The world has changed from function over form (how it works versus how it looks) to form over function (I really do not care how it works, just that it works but I am very motivated by how it looks). This change is extremely important. People today buy based on brand not product. That's why corporate storytelling is important.

Characteristics of an organizational vision.

  1. Appeals to the heart and spirit – emotional – sales is emotional
  2. Intuitive – emotional – sales is emotional
  3. Provides a holistic view – emotional – sales is emotional
  4. Demonstrates a desire to be unique, creative – emotions – sales is emotional
  5. Is shared in Hot, poetic language – emotional – sales is emotional
  6. Draws people – emotional – sales is emotional

The famous painter von Goethe once said “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.”

To quote Irvine Robbins cofounder of Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream “You look at any giant corporation, and I mean the biggies, and they all started with a group of people with an idea, a vision, a dream.” – and they shared that vision through Corporate Storytelling.

Visionaries and dreamers like Walt Disney, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Walter Reed or Dr Salk all understood the power of corporate storytelling.

Our minds are like parachutes

They only function when open. Nothing limits achievement like small thinking, nothing expands possibilities like un-leased imagination. To quote Neil Simmon, the playwright “don’t listen to those who say, “It’s not done that way.” Maybe it’s not but maybe you’ll do it anyway. Don’t listen to those who say, “You’re taking too big a chance.” Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor not the ceiling, and it would surely be rubbed out today.”
The question often asked of me is where does one get ideas to build a vision. Here are some unleashing creativity techniques:

  • Exercise your brain – Think! Sounds so simple but few of us do it
  • Read
  • Be observant
  • Spend time with creative people
  • Brainstorm
  • Turn vision into action by focusing your ideas, communicating them, and taking risks
  • for your ideas.
  • Constantly tell your story

So how do I share our corporate storytelling and vision?

In today’s society the internet and cyber-space in general have an impact on delivering your story, your vision to your various stakeholders – especially your targeted buyers.

An organization’s stories are some of its most important assets or liabilities.
 Organizations excel when they are not part of the “herd”. What separates you from the herd – makes you unique? – your story. Stop telling The Story and the organization slowly unravels. Behind each successful company is a story or set of stories that unite the company’s stakeholders and helps each to maintain the proper focus for success. Stories speak to both parts of the human mind – its reason and emotion. This is extremely important when it comes to marketing and sales. Stories provide a medium of communications, both internally within an organization and externally to clients, potential clients, business partners, business rivals, investors, and others.

At the heart of every good business story there lies a truth that is simple enough for the management to communicate, and so recognizable that clients and others can quickly connect with it.

There are two important elements of corporate storytelling:

  • Harvesting the story – creating and capturing the proper story
  • Telling - delivering the story to the targeted audience

These two elements correspond to the two words in the phrase “Visual Communications”: harvesting – communications and telling – visual. Both are critical to making one’s Visual Communications message-effective. If not your message gets lost in the media where “eye-candy” dominates the final design and layout.

In harvesting the story, we are concerned with messages, image/identity, information, story line, branding and introduction. These are just as important for a doctor’s office as they are for Target stores.

The Storyteller

It is important that the storyteller knows and understands his/her audience persona. With corporate storytelling, story content varies based on the audience’s (targeted buyer’s) persona.

For targeted audience considerations, it is important that we understand both the demographics (age, gender, culture, etc.) and psychographics (needs, wants, stereotypes, and emotions). The best of storytellers, change their approach based on their audience.


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