One of the greatest challenges faced by marketing and public relations professionals is to establish the company story. That story is a combination of mission, purpose, product definition, market positioning, customer profile, corporate culture, competitive environment, financial goals — and more. No wonder it’s difficult.
But that does not diminish the importance of the task, however complicated. It’s extremely important for a myriad of reasons for the leadership of the company all to be “reading from the same page.” And if the leadership is in synch, the rest of the company will follow. Company’s employees feel more secure about their livelihoods and more enthusiastic about their employment if there is a clear understanding of the company story. Customers, prospects, and others on the “outside” have a similar response.
Sometimes, if a company’s leadership has not established that consistent, convincing, and well-founded company story, the task of defining the story and eventually achieving agreement and buy-in on the parts of the leadership must fall to the marketing and PR staff. Why? Because the story is the most fundamental element of the marketing and PR program. It’s the message that flows through every public statement. It ties together the disparate parts of the company. It’s what makes the company “make sense” to its publics. It defines the organization’s place in the market and its meaning to its employees and its customers.
If your company leadership isn’t all on the same page, you may want the help of a third party both to explain the need and to shepherd the process. A public relations consultant who understands the industry and is skilled at strategic thinking and planning can guide and streamline the discovery phase, help craft the framework for your company story, and work with your company leadership to refine it, validate it, and appropriately package it.
Defining your story is not the end of the process. All companies are — we hope — dynamic organisms. Your story, too, is dynamic over time. But it must nevertheless reflect the consistency, solidity, innovation, and purposeful change that are the hallmarks of responsible growth and success.