This article was inspired by a talk during the House of Beautiful Business conference, attended by Z Digital Agency Team in Lisbon.
All great stories of human kind, from the Odysseus to the Count of Monte Cristo, are all answering three main questions:
- What does it mean to be human?
- Why are we here?
- What does the future hold for us?
All metaphors, giants and quests of those stories are used to question the role of humans.
In the age of Artificial Intelligence those questions are occupying a central place.
For each story there is a transactional and a transcendental story.
The transactional story is the short-term direct benefit that the hero will get. Like Ulysse and Penelope finally being gathered.
The transcendental story is the big picture, the role of human kind and its relationship to its environment. For Ulysse, the Oddysseus was a quest for meaning, a metaphor of the obstacles in life. Each creature that was eventually vanquished acted as a metaphor for the role and the intelligence of humans.
Each good story contains the following elements:
- The hero
- The players
- The setting
- The purpose
Does it ring a bell?
Yes. A company’s adventure looks like a great story.
In a digital world where the attention span is few seconds, stories are the exception.
When you binge watch the entire season of House of Cards on a week-end, your attention span is actually much broader than expected. This is the power of a story.
He is the hero, like a good tv-show, where you bound with the values of the hero during the first episode.
With our fast-changing world there is a lot to write about. Your industry is the setting, take the time to highlight the challenges of your hero and the dynamic complexity.
Whether they are competitors, stakeholders or the clients of your clients, all players have their own quest. Try to describe what moves them.
This story should be easier for you, as your product or service should have a direct transactional benefit for the hero. Most of our services have several benefits, focus on one.
Keep the other benefits as parts of the interaction with other stakeholders of your story. For instance a manager fixing a sales issue in his company could also be considered for promotion.
This is the most important part of your story, the ultimate reason why the founder of the company wakes up every morning.
We always talk about Corporate Social Responsibility. This concept does not make sense. It is only a nice-to-have for a corporation that has by definition only one goal: making profit. The impact on its environment becomes relevant only if it can be considered as a long-term threat to its business. So don’t look that way to find your transcendental story.
However most company founders are driven by purpose before paycheck (the fundamental traits of entrepreneurs was part of a former article). This purpose must resonate with one of the three main questions of mankind, without being stretched (avoid at all cost the empty slogan: “we make the world a better place”).
Journalists are always looking for good stories. Capitalize on yours.
Employees comes to your company for their own transactional story, but they stay for your transcendental story. Building a culture in your company means eventually building your story.
As an HR manager, if you are competing against some web giants in your recruitment, this is a way to stand out from the crowd, without falling into the obvious advertising pitfall.
What is your story?