A Corporate Narrative: Convincing the Skeptics

The Case for a Corporate Narrative

CEOs often doubt the necessity of a corporate narrative. As a marketing or salesperson, you see messaging and storytelling as strategic tools. But what if they’re only fluffy buzzwords to whomever signs the consultant’s check? How do you convince someone who sees the world in revenue and profit to invest in a positioning process?

You speak their language and you support your arguments with numbers.

We’ve listed some quantified benefits of a corporate narrative to convince even your toughest negotiators:

1. Drive Corporate Value

McKinsey & Company found that companies with strong reputations generate 31% more return to shareholders than the MSCI World average.

2. Engage Employees

A company with a strong narrative boasts more engaged employees and typically finds it easier to hire, motivate and retain talent. According to a Watson Wyatt study, companies with high employee engagement outperform those with low engagement levels by 186%.

3. Connect in B2B

Again, according to a McKinsey & Company study, enterprise organizations now view a corporate narrative as a “central rather than marginal element of a supplier’s proposition.” In fact, B2B companies with clear narratives perform 20% better than companies with weak narratives.

In addition, strong narratives influence enterprise buyers’ decisions. A study found that B2B decision-makers are 10% more likely to consider solutions from companies that the market understands and feels connected to. The top 10 connected companies demonstrated a 31% greater growth in revenue than the 10 least connected organizations.

4. Command a Price Premium

The impact of a strong, clear master narrative is the ability of the company to command a premium price. A recent study indicates that brands that provide remarkably clear and unexpectedly fresh experiences garner greater customer loyalty and increase revenue. The same research revealed that 63% of customers are willing to pay more for simpler experiences.

5. Bolster Reputation

Corporate value is closely tied to a company’s reputation. A powerful narrative works to enhance reputation and serves as a promise and acts as a kind of insurance when a company is unable to deliver on this promise. Companies with stronger reputations even get the benefit of the doubt by investors in a crisis versus those who don’t, 54% vs. 20% of the time.

Additional Benefits  

Furthermore, companies with strong narratives have an easier time launching and driving the adoption of new products. Kasper Ulf Nielsen, an executive partner at the Reputation Institute, said, “People’s willingness to buy, recommend, work for, and invest in a company is driven 60% by their perceptions of the company and only 40% by their perceptions of their products.”

You know that a strong narrative will differentiate you from the competition, motivate your stakeholders, help you attract customers and employees, and, most importantly, increase revenue. But when your colleagues make decisions with data, you can explain the process ad nauseam without convincing them to move forward. So give them the data they need. End your frustration and, instead, use the evidence we gathered to make your case.

You’re welcome.

Emotive Brand is a Oakland brand strategy and design agency.

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