How to Achieve Narrative Authenticity in 2020 and Beyond

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” – Aristotle

What separates an ordinary business from a market driver that propels an industry forward?


It’s not just about the company’s products and/or services and it goes beyond being ‘cool’ or ‘edgy.’ You have to look a little closer and see what is woven into the fabric of these organizations. 

Simply put, these companies are all about narrative authenticity. They stay true to who they are and why they exist.   

They use their authentic voice and tell a story that matters. 

Many companies acknowledge that their messaging strategy lacks alignment or clarity. As a narrative-driven PR agency, we’ve experienced and talked about this a lot. Often, these organizations are trapped in an inward-focused messaging cycle that doesn’t tell the outward world what they stand for or how they are impacting the industry. 

In Stackla’s Consumer Content Report, brand authenticity ranked extremely high across all generations as important when determining which brand to support. A staggering 90 percent of millennial respondents agreed that it’s important. Gen X came in at 85 percent and Boomers at 80 percent. 

In 2020 and beyond, we (Catapult) believe that the organizations with the most authentic stories, delivered through an industry-focused narrative, will stand out and thrive among the competition.

Today, many organizations use digital marketing and automation technology online, but most say the same things. Have you noticed that the brands with a clear and consistent message about ‘why’ they exist tend to generate the biggest followings? 

Here are three quick tips to help you start your narrative and find your authentic story:

  • Look up and outward, Not in. Today’s consumers know that brands target them online. To captivate their attention, you might consider talking less about yourself and more about the industry you serve. In other words, a company that authentically serves its customers offers more than top-notch products. It delivers a message to the industry that focuses on solving big problems that help advance the industry. In order to determine the message, you must look beyond your solutions.

  • Develop an industry-focused narrative The narrative you deliver,  internally and externally, must be unique and genuine. The leading companies focus on the needs and betterment of the industry, rather than themselves. Further, companies struggling with their positioning and messaging strategy need to go back to the core reasons they’re in business.

  • Create your own, authentic narrative.  You can accomplish narrative creation in a number of ways. Sometimes, the most effective approach is owning a category or creating a framework. Other times, it’s just about getting the organization aligned on positioning or messaging. To figure out which path is the best for your organization, conduct a detailed discovery session with all stakeholders. A Practical Guide for Strategic Narrative Marketing offers step-by-step instructions for the discovery process. Alternatively, you can bring in a third party to facilitate the discovery session and keep you on track. 

The Industry Narrative Comes First

Developing and delivering a consistent narrative is challenging, and a lot of companies struggle with consistency. However, the companies that succeed become known as ‘genuine.’ Simply put, they talk about the things that matter with precision, authority, and authenticity.   

If you don’t think your company delivers a true authentic message, start with your own, unique industry narrative. First, you must discover who you are and what you stand for in the market. Then, you need to share it through PR and other marketing channels. If you want a high level of traction, you have to know what you stand for and what keeps your organization going.