One of the most difficult things I have faced in business is how to tell my own unique story.
Despite storytelling being an important part of marketing, and despite marketing being the business that I’m in, I still struggle with telling my own story. Partly, this is due to how difficult it is finding the time, since I tend to work on my clients’ needs ahead of my own. But partly it is figuring out what element of my story would be of interest to others.
In his book, The End of Marketing, the author Carlos Gil talks about the need to “humanize” our businesses — which means putting a face to our businesses and, yes, telling our unique stories. So just how do we humanize our businesses in this era of social media and the Internet?
The struggle to tell my story began.
Shortly after graduating college in the mid 80’s, I found myself working in a family business that was in its second generation. Not all family businesses make it successfully into a second generation, so this was something to be proud of.
I used to promote the business’ long history and longevity in all of the marketing and advertising I wrote for the company. “Longest-established” service of our kind; “most experienced in the industry”, etc., etc.
Then one day, a manager in the company approached me and said, “Andy, the only person that cares how old this company is, is you!”.
This was a hard message for me to hear, because it meant that what I thought was our unique story didn’t, in fact, matter at all.
Turns out that what our clients really liked wasn’t how long we had been in business, it was how much I cared about their businesses.
Fast-forward to today, and I find the exact same thing: my Internet Presence clients don’t really care about how much experience I have or how long ago I began — they care about how I treat them.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
So my unique story doesn’t have to do with longevity or innovation (even though I have easily been working in this field longer than most); it has to do with caring. And that’s just the start — like any story, there are many chapters to this one.
My unique story is that I have been on both sides now, that I’ve sat at both ends of the table, and that I provide a level of care and participation that a much bigger company can not. I also bring a unique perspective — I’ve been both the client and the partner.
What’s your unique story?