Make it real: how organizations live their essential stories

Make it real: how organizations live their essential stories

The Essential Story Process has incredible value in bringing an organization’s leadership together through a deep and broad understanding of the brand and its story.

It results in two key deliverables:

  1. The Essential Story document, a blueprint of approved core messages. This is a functional tool that ensures all stakeholders can easily “cut and paste” approved key messages into proposals, marketing and communications documents, sales scripts, and other products.
  2. The Corporate Phrasebook™, a branded, beautifully designed booklet that captures the Essential Story in an engaging, shareable form. It is like a songbook or touchstone that an entire organization can refer to for (re)focus, clarity, and decision-making.

These are some of the ways Phrase Strategy clients leverage their Corporate Phrasebooks™ to steward their brands and really live their Essential Stories:

Physical presence

I can’t emphasize enough the power of having printed copies of the Corporate Phrasebook™ throughout an organization; ideally, one on every executive’s, manager’s, and employee’s desk. Because it is concrete, this is the most powerful means of making the Essential Story real throughout an organization.

“Key message documents” tend to be filed away on servers and accessed by only a few key communicators in an organization. To be fully understood and lived, the Essential Story must be physically present and this is what the Corporate Phrasebook™ is designed for.

Widespread distribution

Digital print-on-demand makes it easy to print and reprint Corporate Phrasebooks™ at low cost. We also provide electronic versions to help clients widely distribute them. Examples of distribution methods include:

  • Printed copy on every desk or cubicle/office wall (including home offices and shared offices)
  • Electronic copy provided with every letter of offer
  • Printed copy provided with every employee handbook
  • Electronic copies provided to partners, collaborators, sub-contractors, and other third parties working with or under the brand
  • Screen savers and desktop wallpapers featuring highlights, words, and images from the Phrasebook

Proactive engagement

As a songbook or touchstone, the Corporate Phrasebook™ is a tool for proactive engagement. These are some of the most powerful (and dead-simple!) ways to do that:

Make meetings more interactive and fun:

  • Kick off every management meeting by reading a page from the Phrasebook. This grounds the meeting and everyone’s focus in the Essential Story.
  • Put it on the agenda of every team meeting. For example, assign a different participant each meeting to choose one message or image from the Phrasebook for discussion. Have them answer the questions, “What does this mean to me?”, and, “What is one thing I can do to ‘live’ this part of the Essential Story in my own work?”
  • Highlight the Corporate Phrasebook™ in all-hands meetings, town hall events, and annual general meetings.
  • Use interactive questions and polls during meetings to quiz folks about content of the Phrasebook and to evaluate awareness of it within the organization.

Align it with other programs:

  • Include a section on the Corporate Phrasebook™ in employee orientation or training sessions.
  • Create a reward program around the Corporate Phrasebook™. For example, a quarterly recognition program for employees who have demonstrated that they are living the Essential Story encourages everyone (including managers) to think about the application of the story and its values.
  • Hold contests that give participants reasons to engage with the Corporate Phrasebook™. For example, a contest to illustrate a page of the Phrasebook, to write a song about some of the book’s content, or to render it into multi-media format.

Creative inspiration

Some clients display the Corporate Phrasebook™ in their offices—a simple and cost-effective means of working the brand into the decor. Other clients take part of their Essential Stories or pages of their Phrasebooks and enlarge them into wall murals, posters, and signs. It can be rendered into multi-media form and played on screens in a reception room or cafeteria.

The spirit of the Essential Story Process is inherently creative and collaborative, and that is a powerful energy to suffuse throughout an organization. While neglect can kill a brand before it gets its legs, proactive and creative engagement can rapidly generate momentum.

The coaching and creative team at Phrase Strategy provides support for these and other means of living an Essential Story. Please talk to us!