Today is a special day at Catapult. Strategic Narrative Marketing
After years of helping our clients develop their stories and turn them into narratives and entire market categories, we have taken our own good advice. We have formally packaged up this proven service offering and are now making it available to clients, small and large.
We call it “Strategic Narrative Marketing.” It’s a new marketing category designed to help lift organizations up above the fray and have something compelling to say in their markets.
You might think, “this is just a fancy word for “storytelling,” or “positioning and messaging.”
Nope, Strategic Narrative Marketing (SNM) is so much more than either of those things.
SNM rides above a company’s positioning and messaging because it is an *industry* narrative. It’s not about talking about your company, your products or even your vision/mission. Strategic Narrative Marketing aims to lead markets and promote the overall success of a company’s industry. It elevates “what a company does” to an entirely new level. It helps establish meaningful awareness, credibility and, in the long run, turns competitors into followers while increasing the overall value of the business.
We’ve helped dozens (and dozens and dozens and dozens) of companies level their playing fields by taking the higher ground. What are the trends, issues and disruptions that are taking place in your industry? What are the perceptions and misperceptions? What do they mean for your customers, partners, investors, employees and other stakeholders?
These are the types of questions that make up the fabric of SNM. These threads are carefully woven together into a narrative that is viewed as authentic, valued and well-received. When you start talking at this higher industry level, all of sudden companies are sought after for their opinions, leadership and guidance.
Because they aren’t talking about themselves, but, about something much more meaningful that their various stakeholders can all rally around. How can you help your industry improve? How can you contribute to its overall betterment? How can you help drive your market versus just follow or even lead?
Inevitably, when we go through this exercise (a full-day workshop), the light bulbs go off. Clients that are even small startups realize they too can shape their industry and have a compelling voice that sets them apart. They get really excited and the passion starts.
Almost always when we go through this process, several patterns emerge – one of which transcends into developing an entirely new market category or framework that clients can own, define and drive. Or we align a company with an existing market category so that when people hear of the category, they immediately associate it with the company (Rally = Agile, for example).
How many companies want not only to lead a market category but shape and define it? Well, is the sky blue? Of course, they all do.
Once the market category and Strategic Narrative are developed, then it’s time to launch it. To be done correctly, companies need to embrace the narrative and category. They need to make it a corporate initiative that extends all the way through the depths of the organization. It’s valuable to share with everyone inside a company because it gives them a unifying cause to support and promote.
After that, the external launch takes place. A positioning paper is written with the defining tenets outlining what the narrative is and the market category it supports. A news release is issued that introduces the category and corresponding narrative. Briefings with analysts and reporters take place and resulting coverage, awareness and adoption begin. Social campaigns reinforce the whole campaign, speaking engagements are secured, and the list goes on and on…
From a PR and marketing perspective, SNM provides a tangible (and audacious) goal. It provides themes for endless fodder and content, and quickly changes the conversation dynamics with influencers and potential customers. It demonstrates true market leadership, and extends an offer to participate in advancing something new and meaningful – which has less to do with the “nuts and bolts” of what a company actually offers.
If this sounds like an approach you are interested in for your company, you can read all about it in our new book, “A Practical Guide to Strategic Narrative Marketing.” We’ll share more details about that in another upcoming blog, so stay tuned!
Questions, comments? We’d love your feedback! Send us your insights and thoughts. We look forward to hearing from you.