More than ever before, businesses operate in a world of transparency. The always-connected-and-consuming buyer has unprecedented access to your organization. Your strategy and story are visible to anyone, anywhere, at any time.
How your business operates, what your organization believes in, the actions employees take and the words you use to describe what you do — as well as the value you deliver and what differentiates you — are now omnipresent. These touchpoints, interactions and messages define your customers’ overall experience with your company. They also represent the new competitive environment that businesses must contend with today. In fact, a recent Gartner report said by 2016 (that’s here and now), 89 percent of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience, versus 36 percent just four years ago.
In the customer experience driven world we live in, words and actions define how customers perceive their experience with your company. While your strategy drives your actions, your message drives the storyline customers experience throughout their journey. That’s why your story and strategy must be fully aligned. When they are not, the customer experience breaks down. The perception of your brand is damaged. Customers lose faith and trust in your company. Customers leave and go to the competition.
A recent article in the Journal of Business Strategy stated, “In its simplest sense, a corporate story is a narrative tool that tells the tale of a company’s strategy in action. It is a clear, structured, compelling articulation of “who we are” and “where we’re headed” that rallies emotional and rational support from stakeholders.” The article continues, “More than mere words, however, the corporate story’s strength lies in its ability to align leaders, drive decision making and mobilize the organization.”
Companies that succeed in maintaining alignment between their corporate story and strategy win. They win because their words and actions align; creating a superior experience that increases customer acquisition, retention, loyalty and competitive differentiation.