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Is Your Company a Storyteller or Storydoer?

After a very significant, extended period of economic challenge many companies are finding themselves in a rebuilding phase, beginning to re-assemble their marketing teams and forming a new comprehensive marketing strategy for the future, deciding whether they want to be a storyteller or storydoer company.   Ty Montague, CEO and co-founder of co: and author of “True Story: How to Combine Story and Action to Transform Your Business”  says, “The fundamental difference between these two different kinds of companies is the way the leadership team thinks about “story.” Storytellers think of story as the domain of the marketing team.  A company’s story, thought of as separate from the corporate strategy and product development team, is most often expressed through advertising.  Storydoers, on the other hand, think of their story as a strategic asset and a competitive advantage.  Because of this the entire leadership team, including the CEO, embraces the company narrative and helps to enact it.  The narrative of storydoing companies is advanced through every action they take: product development, marketing, customer service and even the allocation of Human Resources (HR).  Reebok, TOMS shoes and, increasingly today, Nike are storydoers. Dr. Pepper is a storyteller. RedBull is a storydoer.

Storydoing companies tend to be on a mission to make the world a better place. They have a quest that transcends revenue. Their customers see and feel this higher goal in everything the company does and it makes these companies magnetic, creating fierce loyalty in their customers.  The contrast between these two different management and marketing styles is most obvious by the stark difference in an organizations philosophy.  The common purpose of all commercial enterprises is the pursuit of profitability, the condition of yielding a financial gain through a predetermined business practice, but the why and how the profit is achieved determines whether a company is a storyteller or storydoer.  Storydoers tend to be passionate about the journey on their way to achieving revenue goals, focusing on the “art”, as well as, the “science” of those endeavors that in the end put the numbers on the financial page.

Nick Saban, Alabama University Head Coach, is the most dominant head coach today in college football, and maybe all of American sport.  His Alabama Crimson Tide (The Tide) is once again undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the country, and is gunning for a modern day record third straight national title and fourth championship in five years.  The Tides success can be attributed to Sabin’s revolutionary approach he designed years ago called, The Process.  “Ignore the scoreboard”, Saban preaches to his players, “Don’t worry about winning, just focus on doing your job at the highest level, every single play, and the wins will follow.”  In the big business of College football, Coach Saban is clearly a storydoer and a leader that is on a quest for perfecting the process.

Leaders and associates of storydoer companies tend to find their work experiences richer and more deeply satisfying and receive considerable personal satisfaction from the process of making the profit.  They tend to better understand the importance of the how and why’s of what is instrumental in putting the numbers on the page.  There is growing evidence that suggests storydoer companies are more efficient businesses that perform better financially over time.  Is your company a storyteller or storydoer?

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