Forward through the rear view mirror - Marshall McLuhan still and again.
Stories that unravel and then celebrate who you are can drive business decisions at the same time that they feed your marketing communications efforts. Stories can bring your staff, partners and customers…closer.
By sharing stories of tough times, recoveries and milestones, companies are able to revive the original values of the company. If your company expects to be in business over the long term, invest in legacy building by chronicling and archiving. 1970 - present will be the big empty - there will be very little archival material to show/tell who we were and what we believed in. Digital, electronic media and the internet are largely the reason but also, companies have not felt that story and archive efforts deserved a line in the balance sheet.
In 1953, archivist William E. Overman shared: "In addition to a factual record of the growth and development of the company, Mr. Firestone, Jr., wanted to reference an accurate account of the problems that had confronted the company and the methods used to solve them. This, he felt, would be helpful not only in conducting the daily affairs of the business, but also in charting its future course."
Unlike an archivist, a corporate storyteller does not deal only with the past; a storyteller creates new materials that reflect the product/service, the culture and the times. These new assets feed into the marketing communications engine and provide high value web site content. Storytelling builds and distills the brand in both a determined and organic way.
We are storytellers and by that very effort, we are also archivists and legacy builders. The media that we produce can be shared in your print and online spaces. The legacy stories we uncover and the new stories we document combine to become a testament to your existence, to your values and beliefs and to the product or service you provide. Storytelling or legacy making is not a single event. It is our role as storyteller to keep producing your stories as movies, photos and the written word, month-over-month.
Review the following three components of the process to see if you would benefit from the work of an archivist, a corporate storyteller, a chronicler of your living legacy:
1. Do the senior-most people in your organization know the story behind why your company started? If they do, what language and imagery do they use to tell it? There should be a shared story, a reinforcement of the core story - the story should be used in talks, essays, proposals. One unified legacy of the company.
We would start by canvassing your people to discover what stories they know and to record the words and imagery they use to describe the story. The references they use are the ones deemed memorable - now we work with you to create a single story that can be immortalized and shared by all.
2. Next, uncover the trials and tribulations that tested your company. How did you navigate your way through difficulties to a new level?
Because aspects of the difficulties you faced in the past are most likely going to be present in your future: erosion of market share, competition releases a product that renders yours obsolete, the culture of the company suffers and you can't keep your best people... By reviewing your past lessons, by comparing and contrasting with what is happening today and tomorrow, you can get busy anticipating and preparing for the near future.
3. Blank Pages: Go to market when your story is 80% complete - a historical view, a cultural view, a future view - and build it out from there. Hire us, or someone equally capable, to produce new content month-over-month…to expand and enhance the story…to bring your people, all of your people, closer to you as they check in for the next installment of your legacy…interesting, important, memorable.
NASA has something called 'ask magazine' The NASA Source for Project Management and Engineering Excellence. A recent article titled, 'What's Right About Being Wrong' talks about characteristics of Learning Organizations. Learning from mistakes and learning from hard-won successes positions your organization differently and better in the near future. Mistakes are important aspects of story. In the case of NASA - they might be unforgettable. In your case - they show that you are real and sincere.
We call our storytelling HIGH FIDELITY STORYTELLING because it incorporates a rich and varied delivery of story; highly textured, rich and colourful, nuanced and personal in a way that strengthens relationships within, across and beyond your organization.
This is story that will help you stretch and grow.
Legacy Builder | Storyteller | Creative Director
DUO.CA and the University of Toronto have just won gold in the CASE District II Accolades Awards, Annual Report category, for the 'Life in 2027' U of T Research report. And another DUO.CA project received honourable mention in the same competition –– the donor report for the University of Guelph. Both reports celebrate the power of storytelling.
The CASE District II Accolades Awards CASE District II is a regional organization of advancement professionals in the areas of alumni relations, communications, and philanthropy.