Tell Me a Story

We’ve all read a bedtime story to our kids, or were read to when we were little. The bedtime story is actually a great model for telling your company’s story.

It’s short, it’s easy to understand, and it flows smoothly from beginning to end. And if you do it right, it’s memorable and your audience won’t even mind hearing it more than once.

But only a few companies successfully tell their story this way. That’s because they get hung up on just part of the narrative; that part is the details about their product or solution. They end up starting in the middle, basically, so they can emphasize their favorite part. Problem is, the person on the receiving end of the story ends up lost, without the perspective that a flowing narrative can provide.

Technology companies, in our experience, are the worst offenders. You say “tell me about this Little Red Riding Hood,” and they launch into their laser-guided axe sharpener that all woodsmen should buy. They’ll tell you how they developed it, why it produces the sharpest edge, and how easy it is to attach to your existing sharpening equipment. And they have lots of PowerPoint slides to show you all this.

Eventually, once you question them enough, you may learn what matters most: that it helps you save little girls by making quick work of wolves that dress up like grandmothers. That’s why, if they started out with Miss Hood and her plans to go visit Grandma, their product would fit right into the flow of the story, with the benefits front and center.

So try this: Take your company’s story and tell it to a four-year-old at bedtime. If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere.