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Once Upon a Business: Telling Your Story

by Courtney S. Dade, CEO and Chief Strategist, CSD Marketing and Consulting, LLC

This month our Summer BizBook Club selection is “All Marketers Are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing really Works—and Why Authenticity is the Best Marketing of All.” Phew! Quite a title. It’s by business guru Seth Godin, who tells us in this quick read that great marketers don’t talk about bells and whistles, or even benefits.

“Instead, they tell a story—a story we want to believe whether it’s factual or not. In a world where most people have an infinite number of choices and no time to make them, every organization is a marketer, and all marketing is about telling stories.” He goes on to warn us that if our stories are inauthentic, we cross a critical line. From fib to fraud, from ethical to unethical. Zowie! And that’s just the book cover.

So, bottom line, all marketers are storytellers. “Only the losers are liars,” says Godin. What are you?

Which are You: Authentic Storyteller or Liar?

According to our author: “We believe what we want to believe, and once we believe something, it becomes a self-fulfilling truth.” But he also says, “When you are busy telling stories to people who want to hear them, you’ll be tempted to tell stories that just don’t hold up. Lies. Deceptions….The thing is, lying doesn’t pay off anymore. that’s because when you fabricate a story that just doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, you get caught. Fast.”

Turns out, authenticity is your super power, and may be the best marketing tool of all. I can’t even imagine that you’d want to be a one hit wonder, or become one of those businesses that makes lots of sales revenue once to a massive audience, then changes their name, and starts all over again with another group. Hey, that’s a business model. Not one I want to be associated with. 

Keeping It Real

To tell the story of your business, your product line, or your service, you need to know what it is. You need to grow in self-awareness and spend some time in self-reflection. Some all-about-me time. Because a true story has at its core, well, the TRUTH.

Where do you come up with your best ideas? In solitude? Was it in the bath? Or in a coffee shop talking it through with friends? That’s the place you need to go to formulate the story behind your why.

  • Why did you decide to go into business for yourself?
  • When did you decide? Who motivated you?
  • What made you think it could work?
  • How does it make you feel and how do you hope it makes others feel?
  • What drives you? Why is your product or service one that drives your passion?
  • What do you hope your customer will experience?

Answer those few questions and begin to think seriously about what YOUR story is.

Getting in Touch

You might want to take a leisurely candle-scented, bath-bombed soak and listen to this month’s BizBook Club selection on Audio–Seth Godin’s “All Marketers Are Liars” for inspiration. You can enjoy “All Marketers are Liars” versions in print, eBook and audio.  But wherever or however you formulate your story, have your journal handy. You might come up with a real gem, and if you’re like me, you want to capture it before it flies away like a leaf in a strong breeze.

In your authentic self-reflection, don’t be afraid to share something that went wrong, that inspired you to help others. Imperfection is a human trait. People love to learn that there’s a pathway to Fabulous, and that you don’t necessarily have to be born there. And include a bit of celebration in your story as well. Celebrate the accomplishment, the achievement, the transformation, and the a-ha moment.

Final Thoughts

So, if you need support or assistance crafting that story, or embedding your story in your content strategy, CSD Marketing and Consulting is ready to help. Your story can and should shine through your content on multiple platforms–website, social media, imagery, and print. Also, it should echo through your elevator pitch, and in the words you speak and write. Contact us when you’re ready to get started.

And in the meantime, set the stage for finding your story with bath bombs and scented candles from Unwind Home and Body  and Jay’s Body Café . And don’t forget to add a little mood music from Jill Scott, who, in this song, tells a story of finally living her life “like it’s golden.” We should all be in that space!!

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