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All Talk and No Action

There are two kinds of companies in our world today.

We are mostly made aware of storyteller companies. They push out the concept of what they would like their brand to be with paid advertising or public relations placement.

Then, there are the rare storydoer companies. They use direct action to convey their brand, and they’re aware that they don’t own it. Their customers do. It exists in their customers’ minds.We all know how storyteller companies work. They tell us.

There are two key elements of storydoer companies that set them apart from storyteller companies—and it’s really just a continuation of the foundation that storyteller companies start, but then fail to build on.

1. Storydoer companies don’t use their brand as an identity, they use it as an organizing principle. It guides everything, from recruiting to product development. Storyteller companies use their brand to say, “This is us.” Storydoer companies use their brand to say, “This makes us.”

2. Storydoer companies spend significantly less for paid media placement. They don’t dispense with marketing, but this investment works much more efficiently for them.

How does an organization make the transformational step from storyteller to storydoer? Here are six things you can do to drive the evolution.

1. Find your story. Look closely at the language you use to tell your story. If it focuses on “HOW” or “WHAT,” you’re still in the mode of being a storyteller. You’ve decided that you still want to be in control of your brand, and you still want to describe how it should fit into your customers’ worldview. You must realize that people don’t buy what you make, they buy why you make it. You haven’t found your story until you can get to the “WHY.”

2. Move your story beyond profit. This hardly means you’re not supposed to pursue being wildly successful. It does mean understanding your value proposition. That proposition isn’t the value of your product or service. A $20 widget that gives me an hour of my life back does not have a value of $20. The true value of that widget is what I believe an hour of my life is worth. What are you really worth to your customers?

3. Do what it takes to have your story understood and cared about by your entire company. This is easier to do when you approach by deciding that your brand is what makes you. Does everyone know and agree with why your company does what it does? You cannot scale growth unless you can also scale belief.

4. Let your story drive actions at all levels in your organization. Again, this doesn’t take a massive shift if you’re operating from the standpoint that your brand is what makes you, so decisions are made because they reinforce your “WHY.” Is your approach to cleaning the office restrooms based on the story of what makes you?

5. Create a cohesive story. Choose to be contrary to the story of what makes you, and you will unravel the tapestry of your accomplishments.

6. Cultivate passion. The most popular and successful brands are not complicated. Customers can easily fit the “WHY” of these brands into their worldview. The same cannot be said for the actual products or services represented by these brands. Do you know how an iPhone works? It’s because as consumers, we don’t much care about the “HOW” or the “WHAT.” Your brand makes you. It exists in your customers’ minds. And, they own it. What part of that process benefits by complication? Passion is fueled by simplicity.

Companies that evolve from storytellers to storydoers perform better financially, benefit from more social engagement, and spend less on marketing. Start with the story. The story is your script. It’s what makes you. From then on, it’s action.

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