Here are five key elements to consider and leverage to ensure that your business story is compelling enough to rise above the rest.
What’s your story?
Identify the important qualities that inspired you to start your business, project or initiative. Include inspiration, foundational moments and motivational influences. Organize these into a beginning, a middle and an end that encompasses your earliest stages, to present day, and to future aspirations.
Who should tell your story?
What do you want your business’ “personality” to sound like when presenting to the world outside your walls? Once you find your business “voice,” develop and maintain a comprehensive style guide to ensure that how you sound and the tone you set become a part of your business identity.
Don’t be afraid to ask yourself and others you trust some difficult questions about your business that reflect deep introspection about your business’ principles and practices, and how they impact the presentation of your business. Anticipate what the media, your competitors, even your employees might ask. Develop meaningful responses and distribute this thoughtful Q&A internally and incorporate what you’ve learned in your business story.
This is the litmus test for everything you think should be included in your business story. Have you relocated your business? Ask: Who cares? Is your business changing direction? Again, who cares? Then add one other question: Why? Once you get accustomed to regularly using the “who cares” test and can substantively answer why anyone should care, you will more easily identify the customers, clients, stakeholders and constituents you are addressing.
Is your story strong enough to evolve?
How one adapts and responds to challenges builds character in humans; the same holds true for business entities. Adjust your business story following changes that impact the business and/or its reputation to reflect adaptability and the ability to face challenges with course corrections that contribute to the story, not detract from it. Explore more questions, then impose the “who cares” test again.
Laurie Bick-Jensen is the director of public relations for Wilmington University.