You are not a brand to sell. Stand up for the Story you must tell.
I was talking to a health service provider reluctant to promote her effective programs for people with chronic conditions.
This accomplished practitioner’s programs have worked for the hundreds of people who have come to her center in the city where she lives, but she had been unable to reach many people beyond her geographical region. Many people she spoke with knew they needed the extended programs but kept resisting. Frustrating, too.
When I invited her to focus instead on changing people’s attitudes and actions by focusing on the Story she had to tell, on the Story she could stand up for and stand behind, she lit up.
“How do I do that?” she said.
We didn’t start with clever taglines and mission statements and elevator pitches. Check out where I did begin, and offer your responses and questions in the comments section. By the way, I’m offering a free event this Wednesday on this topic. Details below.
We started by delving into her creative history and identity. Why there?
Because she’s the one creating the Story that will move her people to positive action. So she has to know how she best captivates her people. She has to know what themes, burning questions, and challenges she herself has lived since she was a young innately creative girl. Otherwise, she’ll be tempted by the World of Buzz‘s marketing gimmicks and shiny objects with no center line to help her discern her choices.
From there, we examined her playing field – the field of potential competitors, collaborators, and peers – so she could own that her business does not exist in a silo. She also could see how she could contribute uniquely to her field and to the conversation of her field as health service provider.
Third, we fleshed out who exactly her audience is. If she focused from her heart and radiant mind, she could better salve her audiences.
From here, we could begin to see how she could connect with her patch of the planet through empathy and an intelligent macro-Story.
Fourth, we defined her signature elixir. She was offering so many things to so many people, but we needed clarity on what she offers that will make her customers better.
Founder’s Creative Identity.
Patch of the Planet.
Signature Elixir and Promise.
These four elements form the basis for the Story she had to tell, for the Story of what she and her business are all about, the Story of how she repeatedly, consistently, and effectively takes her clients and customers – her audience – from an undesired state to a desired state.
But how do you tell that Story? How do you bring it together into a coherent whole over the course of a month, a year, two years?
She gained a simple framework for shaping her Story followed by concrete consulting on how to engage specific forms of social media and digital technology. She also received training in core Story-telling skills.She felt not only empowered but also enthusiastic to engage her people with a powerful Story.
And it worked. She knew more clearly what she stood for and how to translate the value of what she did in a way that resonated with her patch of the planet – a patch that since has expanded beyond her geographical region.
You can stop listening to the “stories” that buzz inside your head and start shaping the Story that burns inside your body.
It’s not always easy. But it is possible. And for many of us, learning the art of Story Architecture and Experience Architecture so we can unfold our captivating Story is a crucial part of living the quest this year.
The time is ripe for us quiet creatives and business artists to reverse the white noise.
Share your thoughts in the comments below.