For a startup, as well as an established business, sharing a compelling story is the fastest way to secure funding and attract customers. There are several reasons why storytelling delivers a tremendous advantage. Competition for funding, media attention, partners and customers is fierce–storytelling can help you get noticed and gain visibility. When competitors are offering comparable products and services, the key perceivable difference often comes down to branding, and storytelling is an excellent tool for expressing your brand.
An effective story gives the media, customers, investors and others a reason to fall in love with your company–to connect with you on an emotional level. Your company story must be unique–your goal is to capture the imagination of the marketplace. Developing content can be a challenge. To build your own powerful and inspiring story, one that will cause decision-makers to bond with your company, consider these five ideas for creating content:
1. Tell why or how the company was started. Did you start the company to solve a problem that you personally experienced? Did you have a friend or family member who had a problem that you are committed to solving? Did you see a better way to make things happen? Did you have a life-changing experience or revelation? What did you do about it?
2. Showcase your team’s groove. What a relief–you don’t have to shoulder the entire responsibility for being cool–make the most of your team. Tell your story in such a way that features what’s unique and exciting about your team. The DNA, the swagger, the philosophy of your team can attract like-minded investors, customers and partners. Including your team in your marketing keeps them loyal and involved.
3. Tell how your company is building a better community. Is your company green? Are a portion of your profits helping those in need? Are you sharing knowledge that will help others succeed? Are you making your products and services available to those who are underprivileged? If your company is not contributing to the success of the community, create an initiative that bonds your company to those you serve.
4. Declare your mission and philosophy. Take a stand and be known for it. We would all rather do business with those whose beliefs and actions are compatible with our own. Of course, not everyone will agree with your mission and philosophy–but those who do will be excited to give you their business. Having no specific mission and philosophy reduces your story and sales pitch only to price–and you don’t want that.
5. Share your vision for the future. Share your vision for the future and how you will contribute to the community. People want to be inspired: hot talent, investors, customers, partners, and those who like your vision will gain satisfaction in helping shape the future with you.
A good story involves a beginning, middle and end, and your company’s story is no different. It should be easy for your audiences to understand:
As you develop your story, get feedback from various sources to ensure your message resonates. Distribute your story via multiple venues, including your website, electronic newsletter, public relations outreach, slide deck, and social media. Consider breathing life to your story via the use of video–this can help the viewer virtually experience your story.