Tell the Story of Your Business
By Ira M. Gostin, MBA, APR
Famed marketer Seth Godin said, “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make but about the stories you tell.” He couldn’t be more correct. Think about the brands and products that resonate with you. Is there a uniqueness about them? A story that they tell you?
Clear communication about your business is one of the most significant aspects of marketing, but few do it well. Clear, specific and effective business storytelling is a fabric of business growth.
Communications is the voice of business success. All businesses require growth and forward momentum to garner success. This even applies to not-for-profit entities, where “profit” means greater funds for fulfilling their mission. If you are not moving forward, goes the adage, you are moving backwards. We call this growth and forward momentum Moving the Needle.
Everything strategists, marketers and communicators do is driven by a purpose to help businesses move the needle.
There are three absolutes in business communications:
1. What is your message, the story you want and need to tell?
2. Who is your audience, which groups are your stakeholders?
3. What do you want them to do, this is the call to action?
From those three questions, a strategy and execution plan can be created to accomplish your goals.
Message: So many businesses don’t have a message or don’t know what to say. Every business should have a marketing message. It’s not a slogan or a tagline, but a clearly stated descriptive. Follow the A, B, C’s (Accuracy, Brevity, Clarity) of writing. Your marketing message isn’t your elevator or matchbook pitch but should be the message the pitch is created from.
Once you have the marketing message down, then create your public story. Your story should give a voice to your brand and be a reason that the public wants to engage with you. This may be an elevator pitch, a matchbook message or any type of concise and specific audio capsule designed specifically for the message recipient to say, “Cool, tell me more.”
Audience: Have you ever seen an advertisement, heard a business description or watched a commercial and had no idea what they were talking about? You probably were not the intended audience. My 22-year-old step-daughter probably isn’t paying attention to retirement planning commercials any more than I am going to respond to the latest hair products for young women. Knowing who buys your product or service is imperative to delivering the message and ultimately moving the needle.
Engaging with that audience is the next step of your messaging. Audience identification in itself is a science of marketing that needs to be paid attention to. Otherwise your earned media and paid media efforts will just fall on deaf ears.
Call To Action: What do you want the recipient of your new messaging to do? Remember that cool billboard you saw? It was dynamic and interesting, but an hour later you had no idea what you were supposed to do with that piece of visual information.
Be specific! Tell the recipient of your messaging what you want them to do! “Go to our website;” “Call us for a free consultation;” “Save 25 percent by acting now.” It might be as simple as, “call me and I’ll buy you a cup of coffee and discuss your business needs.”
When you build your marketing around your story, you are more authentic, less “salesy” and really on your way to moving the needle for your business! Get your business compass out and find your direction. Business growth, increased sales and success await you.
Ira Gostin is an entrepreneur and marketing communications strategist based in Reno, Nevada. He actively works with business leaders and executives to help them tell the stories of their brands to move the needle.