The power of storytelling to gain competitive advantage

04/23/2014

We all know a good story when we hear one, don't we?

It draws us in. Connects with us personally. If it's really good, we remember and even share it with others.

The good news is that every company has a story like that. This story, if you bring it to life, can appeal to both customers and recruits, generating interest with people - and companies - who share your vision.

But for many manufacturers, the stories they're telling aren't compelling. For example, when asked what's behind their success, most are quick to respond, "It's the people." Yet their websites don't have any people in them. Instead, we see pictures of drab buildings in front of empty parking lots.

Some companies are figuring this part out. Their websites are more professionally designed, the imagery more vibrant and the language more upbeat. But, when push comes to shove, their value propositions - stories that sum it all up - too often disappoint rather than deliver.

They focus on products and services - just the facts, ma'am. Or they highlight the ante and not the trump card, with vague language about "meeting customer requirements," "providing solutions," or "delivering high quality." In today's competitive landscape, this story failure is a significant missed opportunity to get ahead.
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