sxsw13d4_deliotte_hagelA content-first marketing strategy is great, but what about the narrative of your company? John Hagel, Co-chairman, Deloitte LLP Center for the Edge,  speaking at SXSW 2013 underscored the importance of moving your company from the story to the enterprise.

Digital technology opens the unlimited potential to connect, learn and collaborate at a scale that was unheard of just a few years ago.

“Stories are extremely powerful in terms of engaging emotion and creating memorable experiences, so I understand why stories are so intriguing and why there’s so much focus on the power of story.  But I want to draw a distinction between stories…and narratives…  One is that narratives are open-ended. They don’t have resolution.  There is something that is in the process of unfolding. The end is yet to be determined.  
And second, there’s an invitation to all of us to participate in that narrative, to help determine what the outcome is going to be.  It’s yet to be determined and it’s up to you, not up to them, not up to me, up to you as to how this is going to unfold and resolve itself. At the end of the day, if we get this right, the best way to think about the world is not seven billion mouths to feed, but seven billion minds to unleash.  That’s a powerful, powerful opportunity.”

Narratives, according to Hagel, can be personal, social or institutional. For example, the American Narrative: The Land of Opportunity. The Apple Narrative: Think different. These are more than slogans, but litmus tests and a way of approaching every task and project.

They are for shared goals, provide the guide in uncertain times and amply and nurture the passion of the explorer to make an increasing difference within their domain.

The narrative is the thread behind every piece of content – story, post, tweet, video, ad and press release – of any entity. It helps drive and frame future the day-to-day actions, content and innovations while proving a sense of identity for customers and employees alike. And they all get to contribute to the ongoing narrative.

Sarah Skerik, PR Newswire’s vice president of social media summed it up nicely in her piece:

“… There are strong parallels between Hagel’s description of the narrative, and the move we’re seeing in marketing away from episodic campaigns, and toward living brand streams.  The clear message is that today’s audiences crave context, and communicators can derive more power for their brands by providing that important framework.”

John Hagel SXSW Narrative Talk from Edge Perspectives on Vimeo.

Read more on the Deloitte site.

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