It could be because of Veteran’s Day in the US and Remembrance Day in Canada, but November has always been the time for me to reflect. Personally and in business, it is where I take time to pause and think about where I have been, where I am, and where I want to go.
As the leaves change, it is a time to contemplate what was, what could have been, and look with anticipation at what can be. To take the time to learn lessons, evaluate what went well, what did not, and why, and develop strategies and tactics to improve the year ahead for myself and those around me.
Stories are a way to share all of this with the world. Stories bring people together, provide common language, insights, history, and direction so that we all learn from the past, celebrate where we are, and peer, with anticipation, into the future together.
Stories enable us to understand, reflect, internalize, recall and retell facts and lessons that book learning never will. When we know and retell a story, we may not get the exact numbers, dates, and places perfect every time. However, we will remember what happened, why it happened, what the lessons learned were, and how, by keeping that story alive, we can make sure that past mistakes are not repeated.
Our veterans of all wars are desperate to tell their stories. Some in vivid detail, some not so much, but all want to instill in others that glorifying war is glossing over the most critical aspects. They wish to teach us that war, and conflict in general, need to be justified and lessons learned.
As businesses, we need to learn from this. To realize that mistakes happen and bad decisions lead to bad consequences. If we ignore this and only focus on the successes, we will never learn from our mistakes – and will be prone to repeating them.
We need to admit, as leaders, that everything we do is not perfect, but everything we do can be a teaching moment, whether it be the good, the bad, or the ugly.
By telling the stories of our brand, including the not-so-perfect parts, we collectively learn and become better. By telling the brand story, we better understand the goals and future of the organization by understanding its past and its present.
History allows employees, vendors, and customers alike to understand what brought you to this point in time, what is important to you, what lessons you have learned along the way, and how the challenges you have faced make you more valuable.
By not telling our stories, we are not allowing our internal and external audiences to align with us and become champions of our brand.
No one cares what you do. Hundreds, if not thousands, of companies do something similar and much less expensively than you do. However, people do care about why you do things and how you take care of them.
What motivates you?
What is your impetus and what drives you towards specific goals?
As businesses, we need to answer those questions in ways that employees, vendors, and clients will want to listen to and understand how they are impacted. Your story then becomes part of their story, and when it is part of their story, they will tell your story for you.
Because you have found a way to align your goals with theirs. You have given them a way to understand what is important to you is essential to them, and now you have a common bond.
Now is the time to learn how to craft your brand story in authentic and human terms so those who hear it and empathize with it become loyal to your brand – and champions of your cause.
Wishing you success.
Connect with Ben HERE to develop and tell your story in ways that those you can influence will listen to, understand your value to them, and be compelled to engage.