Why is telling meaningful, rich and compelling stories important to a company's future?
Because earning a brand name that attracts, versus repels current and future customers and employees is crucial to a company's bottom line. In order to stay financially healthy and as importantly, to expand their footprint in the marketplace, companies must be proactively competitive in the storytelling arena.
Moreover, we are in a social-networking immersed society, where organizations find themselves not only online, but also (in some instances) taking philanthropic and values-based stances. This requires leaders to meld bottom-line initiatives with their holistic and global story in a unifying way.
In today's hyper-connected world, there is no excuse for anyone, not even the CEO (or perhaps, especially the CEO) to understand and act upon the basics of digital storytelling. Steaming ahead with consistently meaningful conversations requires leadership at all levels who are both on board with the storytelling process, and also who are chief storytellers themselves. They influence, and in many cases, establish the storied tone for the leadership, management and front-line team members who report to them.
Connect Your Individual Stories and Purpose to the Corporate Brand
As a leader who is new to the storytelling process, or who wants to sharpen their game, you may want to select one (or perhaps two) social channels in which to do a messaging push. Begin sharing snippets of your story, organically. It may be as simple as a post that describes your personal career journey and how it led you to your current leadership role with your present company.
Connect your personal leadership dots with the corporate brand, to further connect with the readership (i.e., potential customers, future employees, people who will refer you to their network peers)
"The company brand is a great way to amplify a message, but it shouldn't stop there. The more that leaders and their teams show up individually - as representatives of the company and more importantly as human beings with character, stories and purpose - the broader the collective reach," according to an article in Thrive Global.
Commend Employees via Storied Shout-outs
Another method is to give shout-out kudos to those managers and front-line team members who support your initiatives. A storied approach to do this includes providing context to the achievement and/or other initiative for which you are commending your staff.
Don't leave the reader wondering why you feel this team member deserves adulation; ensure they are imbued with the feelings that inspired you to publish this mini-story. In other words, do not assume that the reader knows what you know. Context must be pithy and relatable by people outside your inner circle.
Here's an example of a video post by Senior Director of Recruiting, Rob Dromgoole, that effectively demonstrates this brand-elevating employee praise strategy. He doesn't just thank the employees for 'hard work;' instead, he frames the appreciation with a specific, measurable achievement, underpinned by an emotive and succinct video message. It articulates a caring approach to leadership, which sells future talent on the company's value, while also exemplifying a growth-focused and thriving brand entity, attractive to customers.
Read more: How to Make Your Employees Feel Valued
Create Elegant Stories of Engagement
Create hashtags based on the company's engagement initiatives. Rather than pushing your employees to use the hashtags, begin employing them yourself, weaving team members' stories into your stories. This hashtagging effort will organically spill over into your employees' posts.
Ideally, your leadership will introduce the new hashtag through a standalone story. Verizon EVP + Group CEO Tami Erwin does just that, conveying the message behind the #AllIn hashtag in this storied article. This same article further constructs context, commending individual employees for particular behaviors, mindsets and measurable results, while also articulating the overall future goals of the Verizon organization
Moreover, Erwin extends the #AllIn hashtag and weaves in #ForwardTogether messaging, including nods to the business and specific teammates exuding that mission on her Instagram channel.
Design and Empower Illustrative Company Pages
Leverage the opportunity for proof of concept. In other words, create a company profile on a site such as Glassdoor, and then employ both thought-work and innovation to animate a brand overview that exudes your robust value.
VMware leadership did just that, including a videographed cover page with specific, colorful illustrations of how the organization is a "force for good for society" and a place where "differences are celebrated, talents are amplified - on the job in the community and around the world."
Extending their message with a slideshow of photo images (242 in total!) they exude chapters of their story, from the opening of one of their campuses to end-of-year bash to celebration of the Lunar New Year, and much more, delivering smiles, energy, collaboration, celebration and diversity.
Moreover, VMware's mission, technology modernization initiative and status as a Best Places to Work are showcased on this digital platform, extending their brand story as an employer of both innovation and choice.
Read more: How to Build an Employer Brand