The Importance of a Clear Company Narrative
Having a corporate narrative is a great way to communicate the key aspects of your business. Through it, you can create an identity for your business, gain attention from your target audience and stand out from the crowd.
Down the centuries, people have always told stories. They were used to impart skills, warnings and traditions. They’re also used to bond people with a common story.
In today’s digital age, stories still have a useful part to play as companies jostle to create competitive space and differentiate themselves in crowded marketplaces.
What Exactly Can Your Company Can Do for Me?
It is essential you express clearly exactly what your company does – what you offer your target audience.
Over the years, talking to many software business owners, we at Boss Equity, have encountered some positioning statements and sales messages that illustrate the need for clarity.
The statement below was one we all agreed took the prize for complicated messaging:
"Stumped Software Solutions* provides software and services for retail and distribution businesses that help them deliver measurable, multi-channel revenue growth by helping businesses implement a step-by-step roadmap to becoming a fully integrated, efficient, omni-channel business through implementation of our integrated back office, retail and eCommerce solutions."
We found this next peach on Twitter. They probably offer a truly great service but it’s impossible to discern what it is.
“Clients turn to GoneAstray Associates* to capitalize on opportunities and mitigate the challenges of an uncertain future”
While that sounds quite supportive, it doesn’t tell anybody what they actually do! It could quite literally be anything – What sort of opportunities? – What challenges?
The two examples above demonstrate the critical importance of clear communication when explaining what your company does.
The creators of these two pieces of prose knew precisely what they meant. Sadly, the rest of the world that has no idea! – And, even more sadly, that includes their target audience.
What is your Corporate Story?
Many software companies, both large and small, find it difficult to articulate the fundamental characteristics of their company - such as the products or services they offer and their organisation’s primary purpose. Management teams and employees will often describe their work and the business they work for in entirely different ways.
Why does it matter?
Lack of a clear and cohesive, corporate narrative creates confusion amongst your employees. Critically, it also creates confusion for clients, investors and ultimately, potential acquirers of your business.
Being exposed to differing and inconsistent stories and confusion around your company story or narrative can reduce buyer and customer confidence. Importantly, it can also affect your company's reputation and investor sentiment. It can even affect operational performance and ultimately, diminish the valuation of the company at exit.
A Single Voice to Unite Your Tribe
To be successful, ambitious businesses must create a consistent corporate story. This will ensure that all sections of the business are speaking with one voice.
Long before the written word became the established norm, storytelling was used to effectively convey information. Stories have been shared verbally and passed down the generations in every culture across the globe as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation, and to instil moral & cultural values.
In the corporate world, a company narrative can unite diverse audiences and create an identity and brand that is recognisable and easily remembered, as opposed to being an instantly forgettable, disjointed inventory of facts.
Coherence is Key
The company story should clearly express the purpose of a business, articulate its winning position and create coherence across all communications. Importantly, in creating your company narrative you are simultaneously laying the foundations for successful marketing activity, delivered through campaigns and across multiple channels - to both your internal and external audience.
Finding and Owning Your Unique Competitive Space
No business exists in isolation. Rather, every organisation exists in a competitive environment where there is an almost constant battle for attention, market share and positive investor sentiment.
At Boss Equity, we continually scan the software sector in order to better understand how competitor companies in your space communicate their offering. We analyse their strengths and vulnerabilities as well as the opportunities for our clients' businesses.
It’s evident to us that many software companies don’t give these areas of their business much consideration. So, there is a clear competitive advantage in making sure your company does.
If you swim with the shoal, you will not stand out from your competition. So, differentiate yourself. Create a consistent company narrative and keep all your communications as clear, concise and simple as possible.
*All company names are fictitious to protect the innocents.