CEOs: When was the last time you truly looked at your corporate story?

Business is moving at light speed. Changes are happening inside and outside of your organization faster than ever before. Yet, when was the last time you stopped down to really evaluate your corporate story? The story that is supposed to communicate who you are, what you offer, why you are different and where your company is going?

As a CEO or C-suite executive, can you honestly say, without a doubt, that your company’s …

  • Value proposition is still relevant based on changes in customer requirements and buying behaviors?
  • Positioning is still aligned with your go-to-market strategy and vision for the company?
  • Story is complete given the changes and additions that you have made to your products / services portfolio?
  • Key points of difference are still ownable given the current competitive landscape?

As a CEO or C-suite executive, it’s your responsibility to ensure that the answers to these questions are undeniably “Yes.” You own the company story. No, not just the story you share with Wall Street or the investor community – but the one that is shared with your customers. The story your front line employees, sales organization, digital properties, content marketing and social channels are delivering in the market every day.

Jack Welch was infamous for reviewing all of the presentations his leaders delivered across the organization. He did this for a very good reason. The business was constantly evolving and the story had to keep pace. It had to stay aligned with the company’s vision and strategy if it was to pull the business forward. And to ensure the message was being delivered consistently, he made it a priority to stop down and ensure alignment started at the top.

We need more CEOs like Jack who are strongly committed to delivering a consistent and fully aligned corporate story. Based on our experience, the message being delivered by most companies trails far behind the strategy C-suite executives are currently executing against. The story no longer supports desired positioning based on where the company is today … let alone where it is headed. The story doesn’t align with the buying preferences and behaviors of the company’s current and desired target audience. It is no longer a differentiated story – based on changes that have transpired in the competitive landscape. This is a problem.

Why? Because today, more than ever, your corporate story is omnipresent in the customer experience. It is the one thing that is “always on” and being consumed 24/7. If this story is not aligned with your company’s go-to-market strategy and vision – you will not win. If it does not connect with what your target audience truly cares about – you will not win.

You’ve probably heard this statistic over and over again … “prospects are almost two-thirds of the way through the buying process before they even talk with someone at your company.” How does this statistic relate to the topic we are discussing? Well, it means that the majority of a customer’s selection and buying decision is now based on what?

You guessed it – your corporate story and messaging.

CEOs must make clear, compelling and strategically aligned corporate messaging a priority if they want to win. They must create intentional stop downs once, if not twice a year, to fully audit and bring their company story into alignment with their vision, mission, strategy and customer requirements. They must answer questions like … is our current story complete and accurate? Is it crafted in a way that will enable us to achieve our desired business objectives? Is it designed to engage and connect with customers who will control our future success?

Here’s the bottom line: CEOs and C-suite executives who develop and deliver a corporate story that is intentionally designed to pull the company forward will win more customers and become leaders in their respective markets.

By | 2017-07-26T15:56:10+00:00 July 26, 2017|Categories: Corporate Story|

About the Author:

With more than 25 years experience building collaborative relationships with executive teams, Jim brings a wealth of knowledge to every client engagement. O’Gara has spent thousands of hours formulating winning go-to-market strategies and stories for dozens of Fortune 100 companies and hundreds of high-growth businesses. O’Gara’s expertise in go-to-market strategy development, customer research, corporate messaging and positioning, customer experience management as well as customer-centric culture development has earned him the respect of executives around the world. Over the years, his ability to breakdown business, marketing and customer experience challenges in complex industries (such as healthcare, technology and professional services) has been invaluable to CEOs and CMOs at a number of leading companies. Jim is an active member of the Forbes Communications Council and his thought leadership often appears on Forbes.com.