Last week I had the opportunity to speak at a seminar on planning for 2017. It was put on by The Measurable Difference co-founders Vince and Donita Fowler (side note: Vince was my first rugby coach when I was 16; funny how things come around full circle).

My talk was about marketing through storytelling. The other two speakers,  Andy Mcverry and Scott Crockatt, touched on sales and community. These are three smart components to building your new year plan.

A few take-aways from the day included familiar sales concepts about remembering to think like rookie, and don’t be a know-it-all in your industry. What Andy meant by this was that being an outsider has benefits. You think, react and develop ideas differently.

When it comes to pricing, stand behind your product and service. Don’t buckle on pricing. In sales if someone says no, it isn’t really a no, it just means not right now. If you aren’t brave enough to forget about the first ‘no’, you will never have the guts to keep calling until you get the ‘yes’.

Community: the power of community matters. When it comes to economy woes, hope is not a strategy and fear is an even worse one when you’re trying to plan for next year. Scott spoke about community and how serious topics don’t have to always be taken so seriously to have an impact.

For example, The Calgary Chamber of Commerce has redefined how they help businesses and is changing the perception of what a chamber is. It’s not about a bunch of old men sitting around table smoking to have an impact. We all need to get involved in our communities to create change.

everyone-story

From the storytelling perspective, we need to understand our ideal client so well that we know exactly what matters to them in the community and what doesn’t. We need to put on our capes and be amazing sidekicks for our customers. We work in their service; we are here to lift them up. We need to understand our WHY and how we came to be the company we are today.

Storytelling isn’t a fad in marketing, it is a concept that isn’t going anywhere. Stories are too ingrained in our DNA for this idea to go away.

Clarify your message: the human brain is drawn to clarity and away from confusion. You need to distill your company to the simplest concept and idea and build it out from there. If you don’t, your customers will find someone who explains it simpler, whether the other company offers a superior product or not.

Your job is to create brand enthusiasts for your business. This is a great term that we love to use. When someone is an enthusiast they share, love and promote you in an authentic way, because they really mean it.

A great story transforms day to day living, inner and outer life, dream and actuality into a poem whose rhyme scheme is events rather than words, a two-hour metaphor that says: Life is like this!” -R. McKee

Storytelling is the oldest form of passing knowledge, and much of how we look at the world and what we consider to be true and factual is influenced by stories and how we interpret them through our own lens. Stories allow us to find our tribes, and be genuine in our perspectives and authentic about what we stand for.

But ultimately, it’s about telling your brand story to the world. You have something important to say. Everyone has a story, that goes for you too.

Let me ask you this last question: if your organization never existed, the world would be worse off because…?