It might be the hardest thing we do in B2B marketing.
And it can get crazy expensive if we don’t approach it carefully.
But the opportunity for impact here is arguably greater than with any other marketing initiative.
Let’s talk story. Let’s talk narrative.
First things first:
Andy Raskin gets the credit for shaping our initial thinking around this. His work on Strategic Narrative has been invaluable, and we highly recommend you check him out on LinkedIn and Medium – 10/10.
If you ever catch anybody
saying writing “old way / new way,” just know that it came from Andy.
We’ve borrowed from his framework too. But from having worked on multiple narrative projects, we’ve found a specific approach that works for us and our customers.
Our CEO Jay recently broke down how he thinks about a brand narrative in the overall context of strategic messaging, and you can see that video here.
Quickly summarized, here’s what we’ve learned works:
1. Start by defining the “old way”
This might just be the toughest part. As you may know, it’s about a non-obvious shift that has started to happen but isn’t universally agreed upon just yet. And it’s how your customers used to be able to win. At some point it was a good idea.
2. Map the “old way” to pain and consequences
Continuing down this path, though, would lead to issues for the business that they’re likely starting to see some early signs of. The idea here is that companies that continue to play this game will eventually lose to those that move on.
3. Then define the “new way”
This isn’t about some cute little tactical shift or something tied directly to your product. It’s about how your customers will win going into the future irrespective of what you offer them. We’re talking about a mindset and overall approach.
4. Establish how your solution enables the “new way”
So it’s not that your solution is the way – your solution should enable the way. Your product should make it easier for your customers to play this new game that they have to play in order to win moving forward. Yes, it’s a balancing act.
What we’re really dealing with here is shifting how a buyer thinks about what it takes to be successful.
One tip: If you can present an insight that helps put words to a change that your buyers have had an inkling about, you’re on your way.
So let’s say you’ve worked through this over a number of cycles, with or without an external team helping out.
How do you know that you have a brand narrative that will actually resonate with your buyers?
One common approach is to build a sales deck around this narrative, train a few of your top sales people on it and get them to present it to buyers. Not a bad approach, but it does take time and can add significantly to the cost.
To be as efficient as possible, we recommend creating a new page on your website that’s prominently placed in your navigation simply called Start Here.
The Start Here page talks through the narrative with a simple CTA about booking a call. If you’re driving the right audience – either through organic or paid traffic – you’ll quickly get a sense for how your brand narrative is landing.
This is the stuff that really gets us going.
And to make sure we stay as sharp as possible on this too, we’ve gathered an awesome group of B2B marketing leaders for an intimate event on this topic in Austin on February 2. If you have friends there who might be interested in joining us, there are still a few free spots to register for right here.
We’ll be sharing as we go.