Investing in Corporate Narrative During Transition: Essential Tool for CEOs

corporate narrative

Transformations and Transitions

The corporate narrative is an essential tool for CEOs. Persuading them to invest in one is hard sometimes.

Competitive pressures on businesses today are stronger than ever. And as a result, many companies are taking new directions, which are leaving CEOs to reevaluate their position, redirect employees, and build new identities and strategies that are going to fuel business forward amidst important transitions and transformations.

As many businesses today shift and flex to changing market demands, it’s easy for a large transformation or transitional period to leave critical audiences and stakeholders feeling lost. Lack of alignment, disparate value propositions across the organization, mixed information, brand behavior, unclear values, or varied messages from recruiters all add to this feeling. And a lack of clarity and/or mistrust among the people most important to driving your business in a new direction is detrimental to a successful transformation. 

Falling Short

When businesses are in the midst of a large transition, focusing on a corporate narrative is usually one of CEOs last priorities. Execs are more concerned with the changing business at hand, meeting profit goals, or fighting off the newest competition. But what they don’t realize is that a strong corporate narrative is the high-potential solution to these top concerns.

Misconceptions about the impact of a strong corporate narrative may be due to the fact that few companies have actually leveraged their corporate narrative to its greatest potential. In these instances, the narrative is stifled because it is formulaic and limited in its reach, use, and emotional impact.

The Value Received From a Corporate Narrative

When built and leveraged in the right ways, a corporate narrative can help your business stand out and fuel the people who are going to power your business forward.

1. Standing Out

Differentiation is one of the biggest outcomes for businesses who dedicate time and resources to a strong corporate narrative. Because corporate narratives operate as long-term solutions, they can help your business sustainably stand out (as compared to a short-term solution like leading with a new product or service). Successful corporate narratives tap into an unmet desire of the people they are trying to reach, and this is the most powerful differentiator. Meeting important rational and emotional needs for the people who matter to your business is the competitive edge your business needs during a time of transformation.

2. Fuel Business Efforts

A strong corporate narrative can help fuel business efforts and drive innovation forward during a transformation by getting people inside and outside the company on board with the new vision of the business. When people are engaged and excited about what the brand and business can fulfill for them, they start behaving in ways that enrich the purpose and drive business forward. Consider all the app developers who have gotten excited by Apple’s narrative, developed their own apps supported by the platform, and as a result, driven Apple forward.

3. Power Innovation

Narratives have the power of opening up possibilities and opportunities for your business. Often, they help bring new audiences into what’s at play, and as a result, new voices get heard, people engage more, and innovation increases. For instance, having a strong narrative might attract new partners or companies to you that want to be a part of the story. Think of all the cutting-edge collaborations Nike has done. Because narratives encourage action and build a community around your brand, they attract more active people, which leads to more innovation. Giving people a narrative to buy into can help people see new possibilities and become more likely to experiment, explore, and collaborate. 

4. Pull People In

When trying to take a new direction with your business, it’s important that you bring people along on the journey. Investing in a corporate narrative can help build important relationships that will help your business sustain long-term success. Instead of pushing shifts on people, a narrative can help people feel like they are part of it, that they’re role matters. When you have a narrative, even during turbulent times, people are more likely to stand by you because they believe in what you stand for.

Your Corporate Narrative = Your High-Potential Solution

With a simple, flexible corporate narrative that fits the direction you want to take, and clear guidelines on how to use it, your business gets propelled in that direction. You become more differentiated, loyalty and pull increases, and innovation amplifies because everyone takes a more active role.

A strong narrative embodies the long-term opportunity your business offers and represents a sustainable future of meaning. It connects with the right people at the right time – bringing them into your collective culture that is formed around the vision, values, needs, desires, and aspirations that your narrative articulates so simply and so clearly. It is a foundation that can drive business success – a high-potential solution for any CEO looking to transform or transition their business in a new direction needs to be taken seriously.

Emotive Brand is a San Francisco brand strategy and design agency.

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