How to Tell Your Company’s Innovation Story

How to Tell Your Company's Innovation Story

A compelling corporate innovation story represents a valuable opportunity to differentiate from competitors, educate investors, galvanize employees and attract prospective new talent. Your company may be a powerhouse of innovation, but getting that story told effectively requires a sound plan. Here’s a four-part, questions-based strategy for shaping and telling your company’s story in effective ways. 1. Assemble the Proof Points Begin by going right to the sources to gather information. Give credit where credit it’s due by identifying the characters or “heroes” in your story. Ask: Who contributed? What actions did they take? What did they and the company learn along the way? What failures or mistakes were made? What lessons can be learned from their experiences? The answers to these and similar questions will breathe life into a key component of your company’s innovation story: why innovation is important to your brand and the company’s purpose, values and business goals. 2. Shape the Narrative, Nail the Message A risk with telling your innovation story is that it may sound like any other competitor’s story. To differentiate, the right messaging strategy is key. Once the proof points behind your story (Step 1) are clear, here’s a straightforward set of questions to ask for Step 2. Are the core lessons of our innovation story counterintuitive? Surprising? Provocative? If you can’t check at least one of these boxes, it may be that your story’s messages are too similar to what’s already been said and done in your market. 3. Identify the Voices Your company’s innovation story is just that – a story – so it’s important to identify the right storytellers within the organization. Many of the most admired companies have strong founder or CEO stories. And more customers do want to engage directly with CEOs. According to Harvard Business Review, companies are listening. But while your CEO’s active participation isn’t the only requirement to tell your story, humanizing the story through multiple voices is. A few questions to consider when identifying your storytellers: What’s your CEO’s version of the story? How should it be tailored for other C-suite leaders? How does the story serve both internal and external audiences? Finally, consider: How do you want our employees to describe your company’s innovation journey? Be sure to arm everyone with the necessary talking points. It’s a great way to not only tell the story but to make it a living and breathing part of your company’s culture – a source of organizational pride and strength. 4. Stick the Landing With the story and the messaging in place, a number of communications channels might be required for spreading the word. A powerful innovation story can take many forms – from long-form to short digestible snippets. Whether for executive communications and visibility, social media, speaking engagements or internal communications, a “mini plan” for your various channels will help serve your story to your various audiences, accounting for their preferred method of communication. Your company’s innovation story may be years even decades in the making. But ultimately, your story should represent a vision for the future aligned with market trends, evolving customer needs and broader industry shifts. Time to flood the airwaves! This blog was crowd-sourced by the team of thought leadership communications experts at Stern Strategy Group. The most successful companies are strategic with the way they communicate. In fact, a corporate communications plan is crucial to build a stronger brand – for you or your company. Whether it’s a corporate communications plan, conference, or speaking opportunity, brainstorm with our team to learn more about how to shape your voice.