“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” – Aristotle
What separates an ordinary business from a market driver that is propelling 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 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 is lacking alignment or clarity – as a narrative-driven PR agency, we’ve experienced and talked about this a lot. These organizations are almost always 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 are using digital marketing and automation technology online, but most are saying the same thing. Have you noticed that the brands who are clear and consistent about ‘why’ they exist are the ones who generate the biggest followings?
Here are three quick tips for getting started on your narrative and finding your authentic story:
- Look up and outward, Not in Today’s consumers are privy to the fact that they are being targeted by brands online. To captivate their attention, you are better off talking less about yourself and more about the industry you serve. A company that authentically serves its customers offers more than top-notch products. It delivers a message to the industry that focused on solving big problems and helping advance the industry. In order to figure out what that message is, you’re going to have to look beyond your solutions.
- Develop an industry-focused narrative The narrative that you deliver both internally and externally, must be unique and genuine. The leading companies focus on the needs and betterment of the industry, rather than themselves. 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. This can be accomplished in a number of ways. Sometimes it’s by 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. Or, bring in a third party to facilitate the discovery session and keep you on track.
Developing and delivering a consistent narrative is challenging, and a lot of companies struggle with consistency. But, the companies that succeed with this are perceived as genuine because they are talking about the things that matter with precision, authority, and authenticity.
If you don’t think your company is delivering its true authentic message, start with your own, unique industry narrative. Discover who you are and what you stand for in the market, and then 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.