August 31, 2014

Article at Denise Withers

Brand strategy: Leadership firm (project overview)

After almost a decade of quiet success turning around Fortune 500 companies, a boutique consulting firm wanted to expand its reach. The principals initially contacted me to help them frame their brand story, to guide strategic communications. I proposed two half-day sessions with them, in which I planned to unpack their narrative to date, identify three key customer impact stories, and sketch out an overall brand story outline.

As we began to deconstruct their customer stories in the first hour, they were surprised to discover that what they thought they were selling to clients was different from what they were actually delivering. In fact, the business outcomes they were generating were deeper and richer than they’d imagined. Inspired by this unexpected insight, I quickly pivoted and turned the session into a strategic exploration of potential opportunities that could emerge from these findings.

After just three hours of this narrative analysis work, I was able to help them articulate a refined value proposition, based on their customer stories and narrative history. The next day, I helped them build on this foundation as a way to focus their strategic vision. Two days after the sessions, I followed up by delivering their new brand story outline and customer impact stories.

This kind of unexpected discovery happens all the time and is one of the reasons I do story work. Not only did my clients come away from this engagement with the brand story they’d originally sought – but they also gained valuable knowledge about their service offerings, which they used to guide future growth and marketing strategies.