Stories — where would we be without them? We wouldn’t be here with our smartphones, wireless internet connections, and satellites flying around the globe, that’s for sure. Stories are what helped us transfer information from one generation to the other, creating a culture and building up knowledge.
Stories helped us become what we are today — an incredibly impressive, although very much immature and flawed, species.
But that’s only the power of stories on the largest scale. Today, we know that stories are also very helpful when we’re trying to project an image, create an opinion, or even sell something. A strong brand narrative can even help with talent acquisition and retention.
Because we’re hardwired to pay attention to them, stories are a powerful tool. It’s just too bad that more companies don’t know the first thing about telling their stories.
The situation is especially dire in the supply chain industry because big brands have figured out that the supply chain is the story, and they’re using it left, right, and center. Clearly, you should do something about it. Maybe show them how it’s done.
Finding a Starting Point for a Company Story
To someone who’s never had to deal with telling a company story, getting started might look like an impossible task. Thankfully, there are many approaches to business storytelling, and some don’t even require a lot of input from you.
For example, if you’re deciding to let your customers tell the stories of how your business influenced their lives, you really have nothing to do but maybe record and curate the best stories. So the best-case scenario is you sitting back and letting the customers do the talking.
Of course, this only works for businesses that have strong branding and a following that’s very engaged. If these aren’t things you can count on, you’ll need a different strategy. Here are a couple of things you can ask yourself that will get you started:
- Has the company done something new and interesting recently? AI is all the rage in supply chain and logistics. So is automation.
- Have you entered a new market? It’s only natural for businesses to spread, and if you have done this recently, it could be a great start of a story.
- Have you hired someone new? Stories are about people, after all, at least the most engaging ones.
- Do you have tons of data? Any data would do, really, as long as you’re able to analyze it for patterns.
- Has anything dramatic happened in the company? Even a rough year can be a good start for a story.
Taking It a Step Further: Developing the Premise
See, it’s not that hard to find a starting point for a good company story. The rule of thumb is that, if there’s nothing going on in your company worth telling a story about, you have much bigger problems than a momentary lack of inspiration.
But now it’s time to take your company story a step further. You have five starting points; let’s see how you can use different angles to create various strands of story around them:
- Your company is increasingly adopting AI and automation. Your story could be about working hard to keep job security for your employees during the transition. Or, it could be a “we automated our way to stupendous profits” story.
- Your company has entered a new market. The stories worth telling here is how it affected the lives of countries, communities, and individuals who now have access to your services, or work for you, or live around your facilities.
- Your company made a couple of new hires. You can make documentary-style short videos about the hiring process, and how it fits into your overall plan. Or, if you’re going for virality, you can do the same but in a mockumentary style.
- Use data to mine for trends. This might be the furthest you’ll get from classical storytelling, but there are incredible things that will come up from data if you look at it for long enough.
- It’s been a tough year. But you can turn that into a story of perseverance, and show your employees, management, and shareholders how you overcame whatever the year threw at you.
Stories are everywhere around us, but a field that touches on so many lives as supply chain and logistics do, and it does it in such a meaningful way, it would be such a shame not to let your company’s story be heard. So speak out, for the sheer joy of storytelling. And while you’re at it, do it in a way that aligns with your business goals and gets you closer to where you need to be. This isn’t campfire storytelling, after all. It’s business.