As humans we are wired for stories because they help us to make meaning in a seaming meaningless world.
In the business world we think that we need to get serious, because after all it is serious business. So we stop telling stories.
Sit through any presentation and you will know what I am talking about, you get bored to death with data . At the end of the presentation no one remembers anything that was told.
When Steve Jobs presented there was not much on the slides but he is one of the most powerful business storytellers ever.
When I speak to my clients they ask me “where are the stories ?”
Here are a few categories where you can find organisation stories .
1. The origin story – every organisation or product can find their origin story. How did it all began , what were the driving principles, what was the ‘why’ or purpose of existence . Levis has its origin story etched on the inner pocket of every pair that it sells.
Founders have origin stories, Coco Chanel is a classic example of a brand built around the founder story and it guides the brand even today.
2. Customer stories – every customer who interacts with the organisation and brand has a story . Let your customers tell your stories. What I find in many of the stories that are shared is they get monotonous . The team treats it like another task to be done . Standard question are is sent out to the customers and from that the team builds a story.
What is missing is heart and authenticity in such stories. They get lost in an over communicated world.
The core of the story is the gap and the hero of the story is the customer not the brand . Capturing the challenge that the customer faced and how their life changed . The organisation or the brand is a sidekick in the story, a guide who helped in the journey.
Visual storytelling helps to cut through content clutter. Charity water a non profit organisation tells beautiful visual stories that connect with the heart.
3.Culture stories- every organisation is driven by a unique culture . To attract more employees who connect which the internal culture organisations need to tell their culture stories.
An organisation I worked with , Mastek has done this brilliantly. I was involved in making the anthem project for Mastek , it captures the culture of the organisation. Over the years employees who call themselves Mastekeers stand up to the anthem and it gives goose bumps because these are lived values.
4. Employee stories – An organisation is made of employees, they have stories on how the organisation helps them live their dreams . People don’t just join an organisation for a job they join an organisation to see their dreams come alive.
A mid sized IT insurance solutions company C2L Biz recently let children of their employees tell the story of their parents working at C2L. The result was heartwarming and the stories spread amongst employees.
5. Stories in the Community- an organisation is part of the larger community,, does it behave as a responsible citizen ? How does it give back ? What is its policy towards issues like climate change ? Does it practice gender diversity?
Clients and employees seek to work with organisations that are sensitive and have stories around the community.