Are we just telling stories for storytelling's sake?

“[The movie] was an education in storytelling and doing so with clarity, with efficiency, brevity—wit. It was a little like taking an extended master class. […] It was always about moving this thing forward in the right way, about making this movie the right way. […] I asked questions like, ‘How do we make this movie delightful?’ That was really the only requirement Larry and I imposed on each other: The movie needed to be delightful." — JJ Abrams, Director, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Story is quite the buzzword in the branding and marketing world.

But we’re not just telling stories for storytelling sake. We are drawn to stories and we know when we’re being pandered to or being told a false, shallow, or purpose-less story. Our goal must be to effectively invite others to take part in a better story. To do it in such an attractive way that people can’t help but say, “I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I know want to be involved with that."

All stories need purpose. And the deeper and truer the purpose, the more powerful the story. For us, our purpose is to find ways to be excellent at what we do and help others flourish because of how we do what we do.

“Companies that participate in the transformation of their customers win.” — Donald Miller

It’s not just about web development (or law, or copywriting, or oil painting, or coaching, or whatever it is you do). All of those things are good, but they’re only the elements of the story. They are simply the means to which we use to transform ourselves and others.

It’s this transformation that matters. It’s the how and why we’re doing what we’re doing which keeps people coming back, even when their not sure why.

It’s not the “what”—the things—that matter. It’s the purposeful story we’re telling with and through those “things”—that is, our work, our vocation, our lives, our community—which truly matter. This larger meaningful story is the best story, and we not only have a responsibility to tell this story, but to live and invite others into it. That’s where raving fans are made. That’s how I’ve become a raving fan.

Most beautifully and most encouragingly, we’re seeing this story-focused approach working and this purpose-driven strategy being executed well to win. We see the Canlis and Warbys and the TOMS and the Zappos and the Joie de Vivres and the Buffers and the Krochet Kids (and the ipsos!) of the world finding ways to build businesses around profound stories of intention and culture and purpose. (And those are just a few)

We live in an increasingly transparent world where these uncommon cultures and deep purposes driving business are winning. Good things are afoot.

So, we strive to find ways to make our brands delightful.
We dig to make our brands have a deep rooted and consistent identity.
We work hard to make our brands an experience!
We fight to never miss even the most micro opportunity to make our experience a little less transactional and more transformational.

It’s what we do. We were made for this.


Quote from December 2015 issue of Wired Magazine, interview with JJ Abrams