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[Podcast] 3 Steps to Tell Your Compelling Company Story

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This article is taken from the Build Your Queue podcast below, Season 1 Episode 4 with Josh Davis, Storybrand certified guide and VP of Marketing at Infosystems.

You need to connect with your target customers, but so many marketing teams struggle to share their company's value in a way that resonates. The problem is you don't have a defined company story—a set way of talking about who you serve, why, and how you do it differently.

We're going to help you iron out your story so you can increase leads, customers, and revenue, by answering questions like:

  • How do you clarify what your company does for your customers?
  • How can you share that information through storytelling?
  • How will you convince your team to use storytelling?
  • How do you unify your new message across your entire company?

We’ll guide you through each of these steps, and show you how to tell a compelling company story that boosts your sales and marketing. Keep reading, or listen to the full audio in the player above.

What is a company story and how does it help increase revenue?

Your biggest struggle is getting customers to care about your business. You try to tell people what you think is great about your company, like your backstory or how you beat prices, but that isn’t getting a response. Why?

No one cares.

The human brain is wired to conserve energy, so it only takes three seconds for someone to tune out if you don’t have a message they can latch onto. That’s why you need an engaging company story, which is a snapshot of your business’s purpose that gives the listener emotional buy-in.

The best company stories are:

  • Simple, short, and clear
  • Put the customer’s needs first

Stories chemically affect how a person feels about something when they’re directly shown how they’re connected to it. They allow people to relate to problems they have experienced—to the point that they’re more likely to make a purchase.

For example, Infosystems only received one to two new lines of business per month before they reframed their company’s message to be a clear-cut story about how they help their customers. Now they receive around seven new lines of business per month by using their new company story! That’s almost a 4x growth!

Your own company story can be a narrative each of your departments use to connect with more customers, increase sales, and unite your team.

Here are three steps to get started.

1. How do you clarify what your company does for your customers?

Before you can explain what you do to prospects, you have to be able to clearly articulate it to yourself. So, what do you do to help your customers?

The average consumer sees 3,000 commercials a day, so you know their brain is already overloaded. Keeping your tagline simple and clean will be what makes it stand out.

To cut through the noise:

  • Replace industry jargon with simple words
  • Highlight the solutions your company provides, over what your qualifications are
  • Go in depth about your target customer’s pain points, instead of your company’s history

Your goal is to primarily focus on a) a need your customers have, and b) how you can help them solve it. A 1,000 word “About Me” section on a website can become 200, when you cut the remaining excess (which is exactly what you want).

For example, Imfosystem's one-liner went from:

“We’re an IT company who helps companies with their firewalls, switches, and servers.”

To:

“We help strong leaders protect their business against cyber threats.”

The new, clearer version works better because all the original industry jargon has been replaced with simple, universal terminology like “cyber threats.” It also opens by addressing Infosystems’ audience, “strong leaders.” The emphasis is more on those strong leaders, and less on Infosystems (which is a detail we’ll touch on more next).

This new tagline also isn’t trying to be cute and clever, and is instead completely focused on being clear. If you confuse, you lose.

2. How do you use storytelling to pitch your company to customers?

Once you’ve simplified what your company does, how do you share that story in your ads, sales pitches, and networking conversations? You need a few set one-liners anyone in your company can share based on different contexts.

Storybrand has an entire buyer’s journey map that frames your ads and sales pitches around your customer’s needs:

1. Define a main character (your customer) and what they’re trying to accomplish in 3 minutes—no longer, or you’ll lose your audience’s attention

2. Identify your main character's problem, or what’s in their way

3. Introduce yourself as the guide to help the main character (customer) get what they want

4. Introduce your plan as the guide, without overly emphasizing how great it is (remember, you want your customer to shine as the main character in their story)

5. Give concrete steps to call the main character to action

PC: Medium

This buyer's journey is based around the idea that the customer sees themselves as the main character in their own story, and that your job is to play the guide who helps them get what they want.

This map also follows the hero’s journey, which is the structure of countless books and movies that appeal to mass audiences, where a weak character finds strength in a guide who helps them complete their goal. In other words, your business essentially needs to be the Gandalf to your customer’s Frodo in your customer’s journey.

Ultimately, your ads and sales pitches should always tell the story of your customers and the problems they have. Because people care more about finding solutions to their problems than hearing your company’s origin story.

That’s why your company needs to always place the customer at the heart of its message.

PC: Side Hustle Nation

3. How do you get the rest of your company to buy-in to storytelling?

Creating a company story is a business-wide endeavor that your entire team will need to be a part of. This doesn’t mean they have to play a part in creating the messaging, but they do need to agree to carry it out. So how do you get them onboard?

Write a draft of your company’s story in a powerpoint deck, PDF, or graphic. You could even present it through the Storybrand buyer’s journey template, or showcase data that highlights the success of other companies who use the same format.

Share it with your executive team first, then expand to different department leaders and key roleplayers in the company.

Be sure to also highlight the difference between your new company story vs. the message you have now.

Let the power of storytelling speak for itself.

Related: 3 Ways to Get Others to Follow Your Ideas

How do you unify your new message across each of your teams?

Pitching your company story to the rest of your team is only the first step. From there, everyone will most likely want to add on to it and make tweaks. Which is fine, but someone has to have the final say and be the guiding light.

Success will depend on everyone believing in and being happy with your story. So, as a team:

  • Hold collaborative meetings where all department heads are invited to discuss and make suggestions (they do not have to all contribute to the exact words used)
  • Walk through your buyer’s journey together
  • Reconfirm if the story accurately features your ideal customer
  • Assign each department a way in which they can try using the company story
  • Establish ways to measure the story’s success across departments

Your goal is to tell your company's story, with the customer at the center, in a way that gets everyone else hyped up about it.

Rally your company behind your story.

Unifying your company’s message across your entire team makes a huge impact on how your business grows, because it changes the entire culture of the company. It gives your team a clear focus, which is monumental for day to day work, and for anytime anyone asks, “So, what does your business do?”