Compelling storytelling using narrative

 

What is a narrative?

At its most basic level, a narrative answers three questions:

  • Why are we here? What’s our purpose?
  • What can we accomplish together?
  • How should we behave as individuals / teams to accomplish our purpose?

 

What kinds of narratives are there?

You can create a narrative, also known as a story or key messages, for just about anything.

We find it helps to start at the top. Create your company narrative first. This is an overall organisational or strategic story covering:

  • your purpose and vision
  • your brand promise
  • your values
  • your founder’s story/your heritage.
  • your reality – how your business is doing, what challenges you face
  • your aspiration – your strategic goals
  • your journey – how you will move from your reality to your aspirational state
  • the role your people play in all of this.

This organisational narrative brings your people together behind who you are and what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re communicating the organisation’s narrative to drive change (like most companies we work with) then it’s doubly important to make sure your story is authentic. Don’t shy away from an honest view of the challenges and what has to change. That’s essential if you want your people to understand why they need to do things differently.

Dig deep, but don’t be too bound by the format. It can be a few lines, it can be a pledge, it can be a whole book. It’s up to you. Make sure you test it with your people. If they feel it’s right, communicate it.

 

Aligning your messaging

Of course it doesn’t end there. Organisations have many other narratives to tell – whether it’s a strategic narrative for a change programme, a creds deck for customers, or just the way you talk about health and safety.

Your organisational narrative then becomes a litmus test against which you measure and judge other narratives: if it’s not consistent with your overarching story, you shouldn’t be saying it.

 

What are the benefits of using a narrative in internal communications?

We believe organisations should invest in developing an authentic, compelling narrative to win the hearts and minds of their people. Narratives:

  1. unite people behind a common purpose and direction, leading to greater commitment, motivation and alignment
  2. inspire and build pride – creating true brand champions and employee advocates
  3. create a context for change, especially important if you want people to do things differently
  4. bring leaders together, providing a framework for strength and unity. When leaders all speak ‘one version of the truth’ great things happen
  5. build connections between strategy and everyday activity, helping employees make sense of the important role they play and essentially making employees part of the brand narrative

We can help you engage employees by creating messaging and using storytelling to build an authentic, human and clear story for your organisation.

Want to know more?

At Home we change employee’s lives. We put people at the heart of everything we do, creating movements that captivate, energise and inspire. And we love, love, love telling stories. So if you’d like to join us round the campfire, please get in touch – we’d love to help you share your story with your people.

Kate Lines

Client Services Director

+44 [0] 117 9411 200

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Sarah Neely

Client Services Director

+44 [0] 117 9411 200

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Carol Whitworth

Founder / Inspiration & Innovation Director

+001 917 601 2114

+44 [0] 7710 163 499

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