Business Innovation and Marketing with Mike Parsons
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Business Innovation Blog

Read about marketing, innovation, emerging technology and Design Thinking Methods. Includes lean startup, agile development and rapid prototyping tools.

Tell a story worth sharing


Blasting people with ads doesn't work anymore. Over 10% of internet users are blocking ads, and the rate is dramatically increasing.

We have to tell a story larger than some new features or significant discounts. And the brands that do win big. 

The Nike narrative dominates Adidas, and Apple crushes Samsung because they have an inspiring story. Ideas that are wrapped perfectly to create social currency for the audience.

You can tell your story too. Here are a few questions that will help you unlock story and make sure people get the chance to consume it.


Circle of Why

Do your employees and customers know the What, How, Why? 

The Circle of Why framework by Simon Sinek is profound to the understanding of narrative and making it easy to use. His idea is that customers don't buy what you do. They are energized by how and why you do it. Let's apply his thinking to Nike.


Nike Inc.

What: Sports clothes and accessories

How: Focus cutting edge and stylish

Why: Inspire everyone to be the best athlete they can

By understanding the story, Nike (98B Valuation) has dominated its category and is more than double the value of Adidas (41B valuation).

The important thing about telling your story is that is should live equally inside and outside the company. Unless your employees are 100% onboard for your brand story, then you will fail with your customers.

Why? Employees live and execute the brand. They are the front line of the brand's experience. Your brand falls apart if your customer experience contradicts your brand story.


Brand Archetype

Have you recently tested your brand message and personality?

A story only becomes great after you've tested the message and how you tell it. By checking your messages and tone of voice, you can make a momentous leap. You translate your words and ideas into the customer's view and language. A well told and tested story can connect deeply with a customer and move them to action.

To test a story, you need to create several messages that express what you do, how you do it and why. Create and verify these stories directly with your customers. You're looking for validation of the appeal of the story and how much sharability is offered.

Beyond the message itself, you can improve its effectiveness by telling it through a brand personality. A brand archetype.

Sally Hogshead has produced an invaluable matrix of 49 brand archetypes that I've been using for years. Which brand archetype is your company?



When was the last time an influencer shared your story?

Consumer online reviews and recommendations from friends and family are the number source for purchase advice. Not advertising. Think about how important book reviews have become thanks to Amazon. 

The first thining to check around story advocacy is the online reviews. Do you have any? Are they endorsing your product or service for the attributes you showcase? 

If they and your customers aren't sharing your story here's what you need to do.

  • Create share triggers at the moments of customer delight. Purchase, a delivery, a review, etc.
  • Start celebrating your customer reviews and share them with your community for social proof
  • And of the above actions don't work, you may have a more significant problem - the product.


Channel Traction

Do you have equal results between paid, earned and own media?

We have a million media options. The mission you have as a storyteller is to find the channels that work for your company. The way you do that is A/B testing.

More strategically speaking you need to ensure that you have harmony between your paid, earned and own media.

  • Own media you own like your site or email newsletter
  • Earned media such as Facebook and Twitter
  • Paid media such as AdWords or Youtube

Once you have traffic coming your way, the last steps are to judge how valuable it is. Look beyond the volume of clocks and look deeply into conversion and profitability of each customer.

That's it for the Moonshots Checklist. I hope you enjoyed thinking about how People, Product, Profit and Promotion all add up to making some remarkable. A moonshoot.