Brand Building Brand Narrative Storyboard

Crafting Content out of Fingerprints

January 28th, 2011

“If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.” Tennessee Williams

The hardest part of crafting an authentic brand narrative is excavating who you really are, what you really do, and why you really matter.

It’s easy rattle off a check-list of standard, homogenized, industry phraseology that mimics what everyone else has always said about themselves. But you can’t differentiate yourself with corporate bologna and cookie cutter content. Saying what everyone else already says just makes you sound like everyone else.

If your narrative, the way you’re telling your story, doesn’t flawlessly capture your real-life story, identity, and Big !dea – you haven’t gotten it right yet.

Excavating what really matters is rarely an easy task, and the process is exponentially more daunting, grueling, and gut-wrenching when you’re close to the story. In “Made to Stick,” Chip and Dan Heath help brand stewards understand what journalists have long called “burying the lead.” While explaining the “burying the lead” concept, the Heath brothers quote the hard earned wisdom of newspaper editor and communications professor Ed Cray: “The longer you work on a story, the more you can find yourself losing direction. No detail is too small. You just don’t know what your story is anymore.” [1] Instead of giving in, giving up, and settling for generic content, focus on what really matters: Your Big !dea, your points of differentiation, your unique perspective.

When you’ve gotten it right, your one-of-a-kind narrative will be inseparable from the real life organization. When it’s right, you’ll know it! It’ll feel authentic, ring true, and resonate with your customers, your employees, and your favorite barista at the corner coffee shop.

[1] Ed Cray, Professor of Communications at the University of Southern California. QTD In: Chip Health and Dan Heath. “Making it Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die.” New York: Random House, 2008. P. 32.

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