A coherent business strategy depends on the right business story

by Jeremy Church, on Jun 24, 2013

A new Booz & Company survey of 550 CEOs and 325 C-Suite executives reveals that business leaders do not believe in their current approach and don’t think their employees or customers understand their company’s strategy. 

“What's keeping global executives awake at night?” a summary contained in the study asks.  “Having too many unconnected priorities, having strategies they don't believe in, and having strategies that don't build on the things their company does better than its competitors.” 

However, when strategy is closely aligned with organizational capability, leaders are much more confident in future success. 

"Leaders confirm that performance is best when strategy is built on a foundation of a few key capabilities that differentiate their company and create value for customers," Booz & Company’s Paul Leinwand said in a news release. 

What still remains cloudy for many business leaders is the best way to achieve the symmetry between messaging and growth. 

Some still believe overwhelmingly in the power of advertising to define the worth of a company. While advertising can be an effective piece of an overall strategic business development plan, it’s only one piece — a piece we at WordWrite would argue should be getting smaller and smaller all the time. The era of Don Draper is over. That’s why “Mad Men” looks back at the golden era of advertising. Stories connect people to your brand.

To wit, a recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article highlights the increasing scrutiny being placed on the advertising industry by consumers and regulatory bodies. The parent company for a major breakfast cereal settled a $4 million lawsuit related to claims it made about the food’s health benefits. 

“The settlement shines a light on the fine line separating fact from fiction in the world of advertising,” reporter Michelle Hackman writes. 

“Buyer beware” is always a good rule to follow. But if your businesses reputation is important, then it’s also important to watch what medium you use to sell your products and services. 

Our external communications and strategic marketing experience tells us that harnessing and developing the power of your organization’s Story, with a capital S, remains the most effective way to impact the bottom line. 

By our definition, “Story” means why you exist and why someone would value your services over your competition. 

A business story must be authentic, describing a company’s true identity and purpose. It’s who you are, rather than what your “brand” says you are. It starts from a place of truth and shuns the idea of “influencing” consumers to make a decision.  

This story is validated and becomes more genuine because we at WordWrite consistently position a company’s experts as fluent narrators who share their strategic story with the right audiences. These storytellers don’t use buzzwords or taglines. Their focus is on sharing the great story of their organization in a way that engages clients, employees, investors and other stakeholders.  

Storytelling goes beyond corporate speak to connect with your audience.Especially in B2B communications, advertising does little to demonstrate your expertise, or to truly distinguish you from competitors. To demonstrate expertise and distinguish your organization, you must have a real conversation with your audiences. That conversation has to be authentic. The right people have to be sharing it. And the audience needs the kind of attention that ensures it’s engaged in the story and getting what it needs to build a mutually beneficial relationship.  

It should be obvious by now that a cohesive business strategy depends on an entire organization understanding and believing in its identity and mission. 

It should also be obvious by now that the best way to implement this strategy is through a two-way conversation between your thought leaders and potential business targets. 

We call it “Storytelling” with a capital S. Click here to learn more about it and how it delivers business success.

Topics:public relationsstrategic communicationscommunications strategycorporate communications
Jeremy Church-1
Jeremy Church
Partner, Vice President and Director of Results

Jeremy Church is a partner, vice president and director of results at WordWrite. He can be reached at jeremy.church@wordwritepr.com or on Twitter at @churchjeremy.

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