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Why Every Organization Needs a Story Strategy

Every organization and any business of any size (including entrepreneurs!) must tell a variety of stories. Most of what we hear lately focuses on the core purpose story, also known as the brand story. And that is a really important story because, if it is done well, it says to the world who we are and what we value. Well done, this core story allows customers to see themselves in that narrative. This is just one piece of the larger strategic story puzzle.

Today, every business needs a larger story strategy that encompasses a variety of stories told by advocates outside of marketing and the C-suite. These stories must also be shared across the organization in order to bring product, engineering, customer service, marketing and HR into alignment to better act on the company’s core purpose.

Story Strategy and Stories Every Business (Regardless of Size) Must Tell

Do you have a story strategy that encompasses many types of stories? Your strategy defines not only who you are; it defines what stories you tell, how you share them across your organization (that includes a story bank for all parts of the organization to access as needed), and how you’ll manage and lead changes, updates and engage others to tell their stories – including employees, customers and executives.

And, there are many other stories a business should tell in addition to the core purpose story because different stories do different things. A story strategy is about having a larger strategic direction that guides decision-making. Here are some of the most important stories businesses must tell as part of a successful story strategy:


Employee Storytelling Adds Value and Scale Beyond Marketing

Another key point to sustainable and successful storytelling is that many of the internal stories should be told through advocates outside of the marketing function and the C-suite–just like with customers. Not only is marketing often not the expert or originator of the best stories though they certainly add value, they also can be bottlenecks that constrain authenticity and destroy value. IBM found that allowing internal experts outside of the marketing function to have consistent contact with customers and blog about their experiences and stories resulted in a more than 7X increase in customer lifetime value.

The best storytellers inside the company are often those closest to the customer. While stories of values and change must have executive stewards who are credible storytellers–no two ways about it–these stories must be bought into, and adapted, and championed by employees or they don’t work.

Employee and customer advocates are a company’s most important scalable resource. That’s how stories achieve scale, velocity, and credibility. Great storytelling belongs not just to execs; it belongs to employees and customers who ratify, change, and champion those stories.

Do you have a story strategy? What other stories do you tell?