Once Upon A Time: If Your Company Could Tell A Story

If your company could tell a story

By: Christine Hollinden

Everyone knows those famous words, “Once upon a time.” Being told stories is one of the first major events that leaves us with an ever-lasting impression. We have come to realize the importance of stories in professional services because stories, like those of our childhood, are remembered. A well-communicated, interesting story about your firm lasts longer than a typical ad or brochure.

If your firm could tell a story, what would it be? Would it take a history-of-the-company angle or a differentiation-of-service approach? Would you connect with potential clients by telling them interesting things about your employees or your culture? Here are four easy steps to bring your firm’s story to life.

  1. Explore the history. Think about the interesting aspects of your firm. Who founded the firm? Why was the firm founded? What challenges have been overcome?
  2. Build the vision. Where is your organization headed? Where will you be five years from now? Ten years? Think about your favorite stories. The ones that bring the characters to life. Explore, extract, and refine the truth behind that vision. Write your story with emotional appeal and help your team “see” the future.
  3. Align. Being successful takes a great story that defines and differentiates your firm and is incorporated into every aspect of your organization. The common idiom that is imparted by every mother to her child rings true in this process of business storytelling - actions speak louder than words. The story that resonates the most is the one reflective of the action of the firm’s leadership and its team members. Do the actions and behaviors within your organization reflect the meaning of your story? If not, change the behavior.
  4. Share. A story must be frequently conveyed to be remembered. Incorporate the story into new employee orientations. Integrate elements of the story into conversations at all levels of your organization.

The concept of storytelling has evolved over hundreds of years and gradually shaped society along the way. From hieroglyphics to biblical prophesies to fables and tall tales, storytelling is part of humanity. The ability to tell a story well and build an emotional connection with the listener can have a lasting effect. Developing a company story is one of those easier-said-than-done exercises - but the reward is great, simply because your clients will remember. Your firm’s story serves as an outlet of truth to convey your passion and commitment to your clients. A unique story can serve as a clear differentiator in a murky competitive environment.

How will you build your firm’s story?