By Jennifer Lawhead
The biggest mistake I see businesses make with storytelling is they put it in a box. That box is assigned to the marketing team where they are responsible for caring for the stories and sharing them as they see fit.
Why this is a mistake, you ask? After all, isn’t storytelling the job of the marketers in the building?
No. No, it’s not.
It’s a responsibility that should be shared throughout your organization, embraced by everyone who represents the brand. Marketers should share stories regularly, absolutely. But so should the sales team. And operations. And HR. And the leadership team. And everyone else.
We talk to marketing leaders who are frustrated by this regularly. They want their people to embrace storytelling and create a culture where stories are shared freely and naturally. Done correctly, they know, can be a differentiator for their brand.
As a marketer, start with looking outside of the marketing team for story opportunities. Here are three storytelling avenues that are natural places to tell a story, but often overlooked:
1. Hiring. Job posts are an excellent way to share your story, but sorely underutilized. Browse through your industry’s job postings and you’ll likely find a slew of boring, corporate-speak language that probably doesn’t resonate with anyone. Why not take a story approach? Applicants these days don’t just want a job; they want to align themselves with an organization that believes in something and is mission-driven. The best way to do that is through telling a story. Why did the company start? How has the organization triumphed over the years? What’s an example of a team member who grew in their career as a result of working for your business?
2. New Product/Offering Launch. There’s nothing more blood-pumping to be a part of a new product launch. But often, what we see, is organizations become too overly focused on the bright, shiny new product and forget to tell the bigger story. Why did you create it? Is it an example of your brand’s commitment to constantly innovating? Who are the people behind the product? New products are a dime a dozen, but your story of creating the product are one in a million. Don’t miss the chance to connect the dots for your clients.
3. New Business Proposals. The best time to tell your story is when you know someone will take the time to read it. It’s almost guaranteed that a new business prospect will read your story if you include it in your proposals. When you are doing this, you are telling others not only what you will offer, but who you are and why they should care. Who are the people they will be working with? Have other clients like themselves experienced their challenge and how did your team rise to the occasion? When they read your proposals, use story to help them envision how you are perfectly poised to solve their problem.
The next time, as a marketer, you lament over more people not knowing your company story, we boldly challenge you to look at the business more thoroughly. Are you leveraging all of your story opportunities, even if it’s outside of your department? If not, expand your role to lead this charge.