The Importance of Telling a Single Story

Repost of Accelerate Marketing’s post on Excell Puget Sound (http://excellpugetsound NULL.blogspot NULL.com/2015/03/the-importance-of-telling-single-story NULL.html), March 30, 2015

Have you ever heard the Indian fable of the six blind men and the elephant? Each man felt a different part of the elephant and described the elephant based on what they felt. One man who touched its tail thought the elephant was like a rope, the one who touched its trunk thought the elephant was like a tree branch, the man who felt its leg thought it was similar to a pillar, etc. Although there was some truth to what each one said, what they described was incomplete because it couldn’t describe the entire elephant or accurately represent what the elephant could do. Anyone hearing each man’s description wouldn’t be able to get the full understanding of the elephant.

Sometimes companies fall into this same trap with multiple messages and varied value propositions. Different individuals may describe what is offered is a variety of ways, whether based on their experience or their perception of the value offered. While those descriptions may be accurate, the message about the benefits of working with the company and value offered by its products or services is likely to be incomplete or fail to convey the full benefit of what the company offers. Multiple messages and different value propositions also create inconsistent understanding in the marketplace and a weaker story for the company, leaving opportunities for competitors to make a stronger impression with a more complete story told consistently. Potential customers selecting a weaker offering from competitors is one sign that your message may not be strong enough or your story consistently told.

Test the story you share with the market by conducting an internal survey and comparing those messages for consistency – and to ensure the story aligns with what your company wants said. Ask each executive and member of the sales/marketing teams to describe the company’s brand promise, its unique value proposition and a summary of your elevator pitch. Compare what each person says to uncover whether everyone describes the company’s value proposition, brand promise and elevator pitch well and consistently.

Once you have a description of the company’s brand promise, its unique value proposition and a summary of your elevator pitch from multiple sources, ask yourself:

  1. Is everyone in my company consistently and effectively communicating our company’s unique value proposition to prospective clients and current customers?
  2. If we aren’t describing what we offer in the same way, how can I get everyone telling a single story?
  3. Are we clearly differentiating our products and services from our competitors so that potential buyers understand why they should choose us over competitors?

If you are sending multiple or different messages then you should bring everyone together and ensure the story you are sending to the market, customers and prospects is consistent and clearly conveys the advantages of working with you. If you are sending a complete and consistent message that highlights the benefits of working with your company and the value offered by your products and services compared to the competitors, then congratulate yourself! (If you would like an example of a tool you can use for this purpose, email me for a template that I used during a recent presentation to Excell at elizabethATaccelerate-marketingDOTcom.)

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