“Story is more powerful than brand,” says author, speaker and marketing expert, Tom Peters, “because the best story wins.”At Iridia, we are exploring ways to better tell our story.
Last week, Iridia staff took part in a workshop on corporate storytelling in which they were asked to share their favourite stories, and it wasn’t difficult for people to come up with ideas. When asked why these stories were so important to them, the answers reflected some strong themes – they made people feel good, they had an important message or lesson, they were inspiring or motivational, they had heroes facing insurmountable odds and demonstrating the triumph of the human spirit over difficulties.
As fun as it was to share favourite personal stories, the group was led to think about story in a larger context – their company. The group watched a video where Zappos CEO, Tony Hseih, told the story about a customer service representative who went above and beyond to demonstrate care and concern for a customer. Through this simple story, the group learned a lot about Zappos – the company. Another story was told about a hotel in a small town that demonstrated its commitment to customers by anticipating the needs of travelers and meeting those needs before they even knew they needed them. Again, the group came up with a number of things it learned about the hotel from hearing that story.
At the end of the workshop, Iridia Founder, Allan Holmes, asked if he could tell a story. He talked about why he started the company fourteen years ago. He shared his vision and the company’s driving force through the years. It was apparent that many of the staff had never heard the story, particularly from Allan himself, but in that instant, their perspectives were transformed, there was a connection – an “AHA” moment that bound the group together; a vision that became common to them all.
A great story engages us. It binds us together. It lifts us up. It inspires us. It lives and breathes and gets under our skin. Stories make us laugh and cry; they get us worked up and inform us about things we need to know. Sometimes stories unsettle us. They make us want to work harder, be better, change things around us, and appreciate what we have.
The Iridia staff will be engaging with one another in the next number of weeks to explore our corporate story. They’ll be working to discover the story of what makes our company special and how we can communicate that to the rest of the world.
Story is more powerful than brand. Companies can spend a lot of money on branding, and that’s a necessary element of good business, but a simple story can tell you more about a company’s heart and vision than a website, a brochure, a media package, or a fantastic logo. We’re excited about embarking on our storytelling journey. We’ll be sure to share our story with you as we go!