Is there a soft edge in business? (Article 2, The story)

Every person, thing, and brand you see has a story.

December 14,2015

Whats your story?

In my previous post regarding the soft edge we discussed trust, and the effect (positive or negative) it can have on customer experience. Today I’d like to discuss the story, (brand and market message) from Rich Karlgaard’ book, published Jossey-Bass 2014 named the Soft Edge, where great companies find lasting success. In it he discusses the importance of story, as in today’s business environment many can opine in and remark on your brand, therefore the ability to build an effective message is more essential today than ever.

A few years ago I was hired by a client in the technology field to assist in the development of a growth strategy that would take the company to the next level. While many of the managers were dumbfounded as to why I would start with “the story” back then, today, they are at that next level, which in and of itself is a story.


Here are some interesting stats and insights from that could affect your story (storytelling) in B2B marketing.

  1. 79% scan the web rather than reading word by word (100,500 digital words consumed daily by average American)
  • Insight: Frame your message as a story so it doesn’t get skimmed.
  1. Professionals spend 51% of their time managing information instead of acting on it
  • Insight: Manage the information for your audience
  1. Every 60 seconds there are, 700,000 Google searches performed, 60 hours of video are uploaded to You Tube, and 168 million emails are sent
  • Insight: Don’t let your information get lost in different places

The story is also important in the human sales effort, say for instance you tell your story creatively on your website, in your marketing and advertising. Yet, your employees, sales force or managers aren’t in line with that story, this can become a negative to your brand, customer experience, and the bottom line.

A few months ago one of my clients asked me regarding a product and a solution, immediately, I thought, I have another client that offers said product and takes (based on the work we did and the brand story we developed) a solutions based approach to his sales, turns out the sales rep assigned to my client in needs territory took a simple price and product approach and lost the sale. Not only did he lose a “slam dunk” sale, he made his boss, the brand, and me look bad all at the same time.

If your brand is NOT in complete alignment at every touch point, your story will not create a clear and consistent message of who you are as a company. Which can lead to a deterioration of trust, and if not addressed, customer defection.

Here are some points/questions to think about:

  1. Take inventory of all your customer/potential customer touch-points, insure your brand message “story” is consistent across each one (don’t forget service if applicable) and pay particular attention to customer service
  2. Insure all your media come out with meaning and are intentional in its message
  3. Does your company culture live up to the story?
  4. Do you and your leaders fulfill the brand promise, and are equal to the story?
  5. Does your brand over promise and under deliver?


Think about it, what’s your story?

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